The Toronto Blue Jays needed one player to put their foot in the ground and steal a win from the Seattle Mariners, and in Monday’s opening 3-2 victory, Marco Estrada did exactly that.
Estrada was nearly untouchable in his seven innings, allowing just one hit with three walks while striking out eight. The right-hander threw 97 pitches and was in control of the at-bats all night long, which is a welcome sign to the Blue Jays given that Estrada has been dealing with a herniated disc in his back.
Edwin Encarnacion got the offence going for the Blue Jays in the top of the third with a line drive home run over the left field wall that brought in Kevin Pillar. The blast was Encarnacion’s 41st of the season, leaving him just one shy of his career high set in 2012. Encarnacion has already set a career best with 120 RBI and counting.
Pillar put the Blue Jays up by three the very next inning, singling home Troy Tulowitzki. Not only did Pillar finish the day 3-for-4, but he also stole two bases, part of four steals for Toronto on Monday.
Devon Travis had another strong day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and his fourth stolen base of the season.
Following Estrada out of the bullpen was Jason Grilli, who found trouble with two walks. Grilli gave way to Roberto Osuna after recording two outs, and the young closer walked a fine line in the ninth.
Former Jay Adam Lind singled to keep the ninth alive with two outs and was followed by Leonys Martin, who belted a two-run home run to pull Seattle within one. Osuna slammed the door shut on the next batter, however, striking out Ben Gamel to secure the win and his 34th save.
Despite being a road game, the Blue Jays’ fans travelled in even greater numbers than they typically do to Seattle, filling the seats with blue and white and volume.
Game two of the series sees J.A. Happ (19-4, 3.27) going for his 20th win of the season against Hisashi Iwakuma (16-11, 3.87 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. ET.