SEATTLE (AP) — Jarrod Dyson’s importance to the Seattle Mariners is always going to be based around defense first. In one inning on Friday night, Dyson showed value both in the field and at the plate.
Dyson followed up a key defensive play in the top of the seventh with the go-ahead RBI single for the Mariners in the bottom of the inning, and Seattle rallied past the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 for its 10th win in 12 games.
Struggling to get anything started all night against Toronto starter Joe Biagini (1-5), the Mariners rallied with two runs in the seventh and managed to silence the thousands of Blue Jays fans who made the trip south from the provinces of western Canada for the weekend series.
“That’s a game right there you can build off of,” Dyson said. “I like the atmosphere we’re playing in right now and I like where the team is playing.”
Robinson Cano started the rally with a double off the top of the wall in center field that was nearly a home run. Danny Valencia’s single scored Cano with the tying run, and Dyson followed with a liner to center scoring Kyle Seager and giving Seattle a 3-2 lead.
Seager added a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning.
Tyler Cloyd (1-0) pitched one inning of relief to get the victory in his first appearance in the majors since Sept. 29, 2013. The combo of Nick Vincent and Edwin Diaz worked the eighth and ninth innings as Seattle reached .500 for the third time this season.
“Bottom line was that we didn’t score more than two runs,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
But the key moment was Dyson’s defensive play in the top of the seventh that didn’t even involve making a catch. Dyson’s diving attempt at Josh Donaldson’s liner came up short, but he managed to knock the ball down and keep it from rolling to the wall. Dyson threw a perfect relay to Taylor Motter and his throw home to Mike Zunino easily beat Kevin Pillar trying to score from first. Pillar ran through a stop sign from third base coach Luis Rivera.
“My best chance was trying to lay out and trap it. I was able to keep the ball close to my body and flicked it to Motter and he threw a strike to Zunino and finished the play,” Dyson said.
Jose Bautista hit his 11th homer of the season, but Seattle’s pitching staff managed to quiet most of Toronto’s lineup. Starter Sam Gaviglio overcame control problems early to allow one earned run in six innings.
Biagini was fantastic through six innings, setting down 18 of the first 20 batters he faced, allowing just one run on a pair of singles in the third inning. But he stumbled in the seventh.
After Valencia’s single scoring Cano pulled Seattle even at 2-all, Biagini walked Zunino. Rather than going to the bullpen, Biagini stayed in and gave up Dyson’s single to score Seager. Valencia was thrown out at the plate by Pillar trying to score from second.
“I thought he was great, really against one of the top lineups top to bottom you’re going to find in the American league,” Gibbons said. “It was pretty impressive.”
As usual fans from north of the border rolled into Seattle to see the Blue Jays play. They ran through the stands when the gates opened at 5 p.m. and made noise all night making Safeco Field sound more like the Blue Jays home park.
“I didn’t realize it was going to be that bad. That was a lot of blue out there,” Dyson said.
Blue Jays: Toronto is still awaiting word on the knee injury suffered by INF Devon Travis. Gibbons said Friday he wasn’t sure if Travis had been seen by a specialist in Toronto. Travis was placed on the 10-day DL earlier this week with a sore right knee. It’s the same knee Travis had surgery on in the offseason.
Mariners: OF Mitch Haniger could be activated from the DL as early as Saturday. Haniger has been out since April 26 with a strained oblique. Manager Scott Servais said the hope was to activate Haniger sometime this weekend.
Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman (6-2) makes his 13th start. He’s won his last five decisions and the Blue Jays have won his last six starts.
Mariners: Ariel Miranda (6-2) has been the ace of Seattle’s staff with so many injuries to the rotation. Miranda has won five straight decisions and threw his first complete game in his last start.