MLB: Mariners look to build on win, host Blue Jays

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A day after shortstop J.P. Crawford and first baseman Ty France walked through the clubhouse burning a couple of bundles of sage to “cleanse” each teammate’s locker, the Seattle Mariners’ offense finally ignited.

Crawford’s three-run double with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday broke a tie as the American League West-leading Mariners snapped a four-game skid with a 7-3 victory against visiting Baltimore.

Seattle will open a three-game home series with 1977 expansion brethren Toronto on Friday night.

Julio Rodriguez snapped out of a 3-for-38 slump with a double and a homer, and Mitch Garver also went deep for the Mariners, who were limited to one run on seven hits in losing the first two games of the series to the AL East-leading Orioles.

“Great baseball game,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We talk about it often here with how we do it. It’s winning late with the timely hit. You create traffic, put some pressure on them, and we were able to bust through.

“A heck of a job by our group grinding through it and, hopefully, we can build off this,” he continued.

Crawford certainly was the right guy for the situation. Since the start of last season, he’s batting .636 with the bases loaded (14 of 22), with four doubles, a triple, three grand slams and 37 RBIs.

“All I tell myself is I’m going to get the damn job done,” Crawford said. “That’s all I’m thinking about going to the plate, and it’s all I’m thinking about in the box. Get a pitch and don’t miss.”

Added Servais: “In my opinion, what J.P. does is he puts the pressure on the guy on the mound; he doesn’t put that on himself. And you can see that. He has a great idea of the strike zone, so he’s not going to chase in those situations too often, and when he lets the game come to him, that’s when it really works for him.”

The Blue Jays have lost 12 of their past 16 games, including 5-3 on Thursday to visiting Houston — which has reduced a 10-game division deficit to Seattle to two games.

The Blue Jays played Thursday without shortstop Bo Bichette, a two-time AL hits leader, who suffered a right forearm contusion on Wednesday when striking out on a pitch that hit him.

That’s the way it’s been going for Toronto, which is in the AL East cellar.

“Got to pick yourself up and keep going,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “There’s no giving up, there’s no quitting.”

The Blue Jays are scheduled to send Kevin Gausman (6-7, 4.75 ERA) to the mound in the series opener against fellow right-hander Luis Castillo (6-9, 3.87).

Gausman is coming off an 8-1 loss Sunday to the visiting New York Yankees in which he was tagged for seven runs on seven hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings. He is 1-3 with a 2.75 ERA in 10 career appearances against Seattle, including nine starts.

Castillo has dropped his past two decisions. He’s 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three career starts against the Blue Jays. Those include a 5-2 defeat at Toronto on April 8, when he gave up four runs on nine hits over five innings.

–Field Level Media

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