SEATTLE — Jarred Kelenic drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning and the Seattle Mariners beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 Friday night for their third straight win.
Kyle Seager and Abraham Toro sparked the winning rally with two-out walks against Adam Cimber (2-4). Luis Torrens reached when his comebacker glanced off the top of Cimber’s glove, loading the bases.
Brad Hand came in and walked Kelenic on four straight pitches, sending the Mariners to their fourth win in five games.
The sequence showed Kelenic’s development, Mariners manager Scott Servais said. The prized rookie was mired in an 0-for-39 slump earlier this season before being demoted.
“He probably would have swung at the first pitch” earlier this season, Servais said. “But that’s how much he’s grown. … You just never know when that light is going to come on for a young player.”
Seattle’s last 10 games have been decided by two or fewer runs, the longest stretch in the major leagues this season and one off the team record set in 2005. It was Toronto’s second straight loss.
Drew Steckenrider (5-2) pitched the ninth for the win.
The Blue Jays appeared to take the lead in the top of the ninth when pinch-runner Breyvic Valera tagged up from third and slid safely under Ty France’s throw from foul territory behind first base. But the call was overturned when a replay review showed Tom Murphy’s tag caught Valera’s back before he touched home.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo cursed when talking about the play after the game.
“Every angle we looked at it looked safe,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Usually in (our experience), they usually don’t get overturned.”
Montoyo said bad things continued to mount in the ninth, especially when Torrens’ ricochet off Cimber’s glove was unplayable in what could have been a double-play situation.
“Everything didn’t go right the whole inning,” he said.
France, who has a 1.000 fielding percentage as a fill-in first baseman, made a basket catch over his shoulder on Marcus Semien’s foul popup before turning and firing home to catch Valera. Mariners catchers recently failed to tag out two runners in similar situations, losing the ball on the tag attempt.
“The weird coincidence is two days ago they went and worked on that,” France said of the catchers.
Kelenic doubled to lead off the third and Murphy followed with a homer to left field. Two outs later, Robbie Ray gave up back-to-back singles, but he escaped the threat by striking out Seager.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. tied it an inning later with a two-run single, and Ray worked seven innings with some defensive help.
Ray got a double play from Gurriel, who knocked down Kelenic’s liner up the first-base line in the fourth, tagged the bag and then made the throw to second.
Center fielder George Springer made two big plays, taking an extra-base hit away from Torrens in the fourth when he crashed into the wall and flagging down a Toro fly to the right-field gap.
Chris Flexen pitched six innings of two-run ball for Seattle. Mariners starters have given up three or fewer runs in 13 consecutive starts since July 31.
Blue Jays: Montoyo said he hoped to keep OF Corey Dickerson off the injured list after pulling him from the lineup with a tight back. He said he hoped the problem would work itself out by Saturday. … SS Bo Bichette (left shin bruise) returned to the lineup.
Mariners: Flexen was pulled after 74 pitches because he was dealing with a lower-body issue, Servais said. The right hander had been receiving treatment for the unspecified problem before the start. … CF Kyle Lewis (right meniscus tear) took batting practice with the team for the first time since going on the injured list June 1. Servais has said Lewis is likely to play again this season.
Blue Jays LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (11-5, 3.62 ERA) makes his second career start against the Mariners.
Mariners LHP Yusei Kikuchi (7-6, 3.73 ERA) looks for his 14th quality start this season.