Mariners go for series clincher vs. Blue Jays after no-hitter

The Seattle Mariners cannot expect to top their Tuesday game, when Canadian left-hander James Paxton pitched a no-hitter.

But they can clinch their three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays with a win Wednesday night at the Rogers Centre. The win Tuesday ended a five-game losing streak by the Mariners at the Rogers Centre.

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc (0-0,3.57 ERA) will make his seventh appearance and second start of the season for the Mariners on Wednesday. He will face Blue Jays left-hander Jaime Garcia (2-2, 6.60).

Paxton pitched the sixth no-hitter in the Mariners’ franchise history, and the fifth by an individual pitcher. It was the second no-hitter by a Canadian. The other one was by Dick Fowler on Sept. 9, 1945, for the Philadelphia A’s against the St. Louis Browns.

Paxton, a native of Ladner, B.C., was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2009 but did not sign. He signed with the Mariners after they drafted him in 2010.

“To have it happen in Canada. What are the odds?” Paxton said. “It’s pretty amazing. Just very special. And against the Blue Jays? You couldn’t write this stuff.”

The no-hitter also was Paxton’s first career complete game.

“After he got the first two outs (on hard-hit balls to the outfield) in the eighth, you could see it building and then he. … just got after it,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “They had probably their best hitter (Josh Donaldson) up there with two outs in the ninth, but he made pitches. It’s one of those experiences you’ll never forget.”

LeBlanc did not factor in the decision in tossing four innings without allowing any runs in his first start of the season, a 4-1 Mariners win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday. The 33-year-old has a 4.61 ERA with 12 strikeouts and three walks in five relief appearances this season. He signed with the Mariners on March 25 after being released by the New York Yankees at his request.

He will be making his third career appearance and his first start against the Blue Jays He allowed five earned runs in five innings combined in his first two outings against Toronto.

Garcia is 0-1 with a 4.67 ERA in two career starts against the Mariners.

He did not factor in the decision in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians Thursday, despite allowing seven hits and six runs in 3 1/3 innings. He is 0-2 with a 9.88 ERA in his past three starts.

Toronto’s starting pitching, which was expected to be a strength this season, has been a disappointment so far. The losing pitcher on Tuesday was Marcus Stroman, who allowed nine hits and five runs to fall to 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he feels that will turn around.

“When we get (Stroman) going and get Jaime going a little bit, I’m optimistic about that,” Gibbons said. “They’re both due. They’re both overdue.”

The Blue Jays also have another problem in the bullpen. Closer Roberto Osuna has been put on administrative leave by Major League Baseball after Toronto police charged him with assault early Tuesday.

Gibbons did not say who would be his closer, but obviously he would like to have his team get in a position where one is needed.

He said he has a choice from among Tyler Clippard, Ryan Tepera, Seunghwan Oh and John Axford, who have all handled high-leverage situations.

Jake Petricka was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to take Osuna’s spot on the roster.

The Blue Jays also put shortstop Aledmys Diaz on the disabled list with a sprained ankle and recalled infielder Richard Urena from Buffalo.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. will play shortstop during Diaz’s absence. Gurriel has played both middle infield positions since being promoted from Buffalo April 21. He is batting .224 with two homers and seven RBIs.

“I think he’s played better than his numbers indicate,” Gibbons said. “He continues to put up good at-bats, he does a lot of good things. He’s hit some breaking balls, he’s fouled off some breaking balls. Yeah, I like everything he’s doing, I really do. And he’s a confident kid.”