SEATTLE — J.A. Happ became the major leagues’ second 20-game winner and Russell Martin and Michael Saunders each hit a two-run homer, lifting the Toronto Blue Jays over the Seattle Mariners 10-2 on Tuesday night to move into first in the AL wild-card race.
Toronto took the lead with an eight-run fourth inning and moved a game ahead of Baltimore. Detroit remained 2 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays.
Seattle lost for the fourth time in five games and trail Toronto by four games.
Happ (20-4) allowed two runs, six hits and a walk over five innings, striking out eight while winning for the 14th time in his last 15 decisions. He’s the first Toronto pitcher to reach 20 wins since Roy Halladay in 2008.
Martin and Saunders each homered off Hisashi Iwakuma (16-12) during the Blue Jays’ big inning. After catcher Chris Iannetta misplayed Jose Bautista’s pop foul for an error, Bautista singled with one out and Martin followed with his 20th home run. Troy Tulowitzki singled and Saunders followed with his 24th homer to put Toronto up 4-2.
Kevin Pillar doubled and Ezequiel Carrera chased Iwakuma with an RBI single. Devon Travis greeted reliever Nick Vincent with a bloop single down the right-field line, scoring Carrera from first to make it 6-2. Josh Donaldson walked and Edwin Encarnacion capped the inning with a two-run double.
Donaldson opened the sixth with his 35th homer and Encarnacion added an eighth-inning solo homer, his 42nd, for the final two runs.
The Mariners took a 2-0 lead in the third when Robinson Cano lined a two-run triple off the knee of second baseman Travis that caromed all the way into the right-field corner.
Shawn O’Malley reached on a one-out bunt single and moved to second when Travis couldn’t find the handle on Guillermo Heredia’s infield single. Both runners advanced on a double steal and came home on Cano’s triple.
Mariners: RHP Taijuan Walker had no issues after taking a line drive off his pitching arm in the first inning on Monday night. “He feels fine. There’s nothing there,” manager Scott Servais said.
MARINERS AFFILIATE MOVES
Seattle will have two new minor league affiliates in 2017. The Mariners announced a two-year agreement with the Arkansas Travelers in the Double-A Texas League and a four-year deal with the Modesto Nuts in the Class A California League. Arkansas replaces Jackson, which won the Southern League title. Modesto replaces Bakersfield, which was contracted from the California League.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (13-2, 3.17 ERA) gets the start in the afternoon series finale at Safeco Field. Sanchez is 2-1 with a 4.65 ERA and four no decisions in his last seven starts. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his last start, giving up six runs on five hits.
Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez (11-6, 3.79) allowed six runs — five earned — and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in his last start, a 6-0 loss vs. Houston. He is 7-2 in 12 starts since coming off the DL (right calf strain) on July 20.
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