Marco Estrada baffled Seattle’s struggling bats with his mix of offspeed pitches, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning and leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-1 win over the Mariners on Saturday night.
Estrada (5-8) was masterful with his changeup, keeping the Mariners guessing all night. He didn’t give up a hit until Mitch Haniger’s one-out double just inside third base in the seventh inning. It was just Seattle’s second baserunner after Nelson Cruz walked leading off the second inning.
Otherwise, the Mariners’ slumping offence looked even more meager against Estrada, who entered the day with a 4.90 ERA and had allowed four earned runs in four innings in his last start. Estrada also induced plenty of weak contact as Seattle struggled to make the adjustment between speeds.
Estrada was pulled after walking Ryon Healy to open the eighth inning, leaving to a standing ovation from the thousands of Toronto fans in attendance. Estrada struck out four and allowed one earned run when Healy scored on Chris Herrmann’s sacrifice fly.
Soak it all in, Marco. You were spectacular tonight! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ACEstrada?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ACEstrada</a> <a href=”https://t.co/O0MJvIl2ak”>pic.twitter.com/O0MJvIl2ak</a>
Ryan Tepera finished off the eighth and Ken Giles pitched the ninth in his second appearance since being acquired by the Blue Jays.
Paxton drops another start
Seattle has lost five straight and fallen 2 1/2 games back of Oakland in the AL wild-card race.
Seattle starter James Paxton (9-5) lost for the third time in his past four starts against the team he no-hit earlier this season in Toronto. The damage against Paxton came via two blows: Devon Travis’ two-run single in the third and Aledmys Diaz’s solo home run leading off the fifth.
Paxton was able to get through the seventh thanks to inning-ending double plays in the first, third and fifth innings, and another key double play in the seventh. He struck out seven and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 14 of his last 17 starts.
Toronto added two more runs off Seattle’s bullpen on Justin Smoak’s RBI single in the eighth and Brandon Drury’s double in the ninth. Toronto has scored 10 runs — seven earned — off Seattle’s bullpen in the first three games of the series.