Paxton, Mariners beat Blue Jays

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[July 23, 2016]  TORONTO -- James Paxton struck out nine over seven innings, Seth Smith doubled in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning and the Seattle Mariners defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 on Friday night.

Paxton (3-4), a left-hander, allowed three hits, including a home run, one walk and one run in the opener of a three-game series.

Steve Cishek struck out three and pitched around a walk and a single in the ninth inning to earn his 23rd save.

The right-hander walked Edwin Encarnacion with two out and Troy Tulowitzki followed with a single.

Toronto designated hitter Michael Saunders, who homered in his first career at-bat against the Mariners (49-47), his former team, struck out to end the game.

Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada (5-4) allowed seven hits, one walk and two runs in six innings. The right-hander struck out three and hit two batters.

Estrada, who went on the disabled list with a sore back and missed his final start before the All-Star break, kept the Blue Jays within one run when he worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the sixth.

The Blue Jays (54-43) started a threat in the bottom of the sixth after Josh Thole walked with one out, their second base runner of the game.

Josh Donaldson doubled to left center with two out and Thole stopped at third. Paxton struck out Encarnacion for the third time of the game to end the inning.

Left-hander Brett Cecil replaced Estrada to open the seventh and retired his only two batters before being replaced by right-hander Bo Schultz, who allowed a single before finishing the inning.

Seattle scored a run in the first inning.

Norichika Aoki led off the first with a triple. Seth Smith was hit by a pitch. Aoki scored when Robinson Cano forced Smith at second with a grounder to shortstop.

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Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers a pitch against Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays tied the game in the second on Saunders' 17th homer of the season, a drive to left on a 3-1 pitch. It was the first at-bat for Saunders against his former team. He was traded to Toronto by Seattle after the 2014 season but missed most of last season with a knee injury.

The Mariners took a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Shawn O'Malley led off with a single, stole second with one out and scored when Smith reached out and sliced a down-and-away pitch past the bag at third for a double.

NOTES: Toronto reinstated RHP Marco Estrada (back) and LHP Franklin Morales (shoulder) from the disabled list and optioned LHP Aaron Loup and INF Andy Burns to Triple-A Buffalo. RHP Dustin Antolin was designated for assignment to make room for Morales on the 40-man roster. ... Blue Jays C Russell Martin (knee) did not start after feeling lightheaded in the sauna on Thursday and twisting a knee in the shower. ... Mariners SS Ketel Marte (mononucleosis) was put on the DL Friday after tests taken after he had a sore throat Sunday revealed a form of mononucleosis. ... INF Luis Sardinas was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma and will share shortstop with INF Shawn O'Malley, who started Friday. ... Seattle manager Scott Servais said LHP Wade Miley will start Sunday. ... Toronto RHP R.A. Dickey (7-10, 4.11 ERA) will face Seattle RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-6, 4.01) on Saturday.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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