Blue Jays’ Yariel Rodriguez limits Mariners for first MLB victory

Rookie Yariel Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings to earn his first major league victory as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the host Seattle Mariners 5-4 on Saturday afternoon.

Alejandro Kirk went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for the Blue Jays, who won for just the fifth time in their past 18 games.

Mitch Haniger and Luke Raley homered for the American League West-leading Mariners, who had a two-game winning streak snapped.

Rodriguez (1-3), a right-hander out of Cuba making his seventh career start, allowed one hit, walked two and struck out six.

Chad Green pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for his fourth save.

Rodriguez retired the first 10 batters he faced before allowing back-to-back walks to Josh Rojas and Cal Raleigh with one out in the fourth. He got out of the jam as left fielder Daulton Varsho made a diving catch on a sinking liner by Ty France to start an inning-ending double play.

The only hit Rodriguez allowed was a leadoff single by Raley in the fifth, a flare to shallow left as he was jammed on an inside fastball.

The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the fourth against Mariners right-hander Emerson Hancock (3-4), who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to make the start for the injured Bryan Woo (strained right hamstring).

With two outs, Varsho lined a single to center field and scored when Kirk doubled to left.

Toronto tallied again in the fifth as George Springer led off with an infield single and Spencer Horwitz was hit by a pitch. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. greeted reliever Collin Snyder with a single to left, scoring Springer to make it 2-0.

The Blue Jays added a run in the seventh as Guerrero led off with a single to shallow right, Bo Bichette lined a single to left and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. With one out, the Mariners walked Varsho intentionally to load the bases for the slow-footed Kirk, but he spoiled the strategy with a sacrifice fly to right.

The Blue Jays tacked on two more runs in the eighth. Kevin Kiermaier led off with a ground-rule double to right-center, and walks to Springer and Davis Schneider loaded the bases. Guerrero hit a sacrifice fly to right, and the final run scored on an error by shortstop J.P. Crawford to make it 5-0.

Haniger hit a three-run homer to left-center off Trevor Richards in the eighth after singles by Mitch Garver and Dominic Canzone.

Raley hit a solo shot to right with one out in the ninth.

Hancock was charged with two runs on six hits in four-plus innings, with one walk and four strikeouts.

Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez, who was set to bat clean-up, left after the first inning for undisclosed reasons without making a plate appearance. Rodriguez jammed his right thumb making a catch Thursday and fouled a ball off his left knee Friday.

–Field Level Media