The Seattle Mariners have struggled to score runs early in 2011, but don't tell that to the Toronto Blue Jays.
After snapping its seven-game skid in dramatic fashion, Seattle looks to carry the momentum into Tuesday night when it continues its home series against Toronto.
Following back-to-back victories over Oakland to open the season, the Mariners (3-7) had been outscored 43-18 during a seven-game losing streak.
That slide appeared certain to reach eight Monday night, when Seattle found itself in a 7-0 hole entering the seventh inning. Instead of eight losses, though, the Mariners reached eight runs. Luis Rodriguez capped the rally in the ninth inning when his two-out, two-run single in a 10-pitch at-bat gave Seattle an 8-7 victory.
The Mariners, who scored a major-league-worst 513 runs last season, avoided their first 0-4 start at home since 2004. They have come from behind in all three of their wins.
"You can't say enough about that at-bat that Luis Rodriguez had," manager Eric Wedge said. "Nine of ten pitches with the game on the line right there, fighting through it, fouling some pitches off and ultimately came through and you love to see that. It was a good win for us."
Toronto (5-5), meanwhile, suffered its third straight loss and fourth in five games.
The Blue Jays bullpen, which had recorded a 1.11 ERA through its first 32 1-3 innings, surrendered eight runs for the first time since allowing nine in a 12-10 loss at Baltimore on May 27, 2009.
Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista went 2 for 4 to improve his average to .400. Toronto recorded at least 10 hits for the sixth time this season.
Mariners rookie starter Michael Pineda (0-1, 4.50 ERA), who showed promise in his major-league debut last Tuesday, will look to slow down the Blue Jays' offense. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed three runs in six innings of last Tuesday's 3-2 defeat at Texas.
"He was poised out there," Wedge said. "He should feel real good about it, the way he pitched, the way he controlled the game. We couldn't have asked for a better outing."
He'll be opposed by Blue Jays opening-day starter Ricky Romero (1-1, 1.32), who limited Oakland to one run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings Thursday, but got saddled with a tough-luck 2-1 loss.
"I could tell from the get-go that he was going to have a good game and he did," opposing pitcher Trevor Cahill said of Romero, who is 1-0 with a 3.79 ERA in three career starts against Seattle. "His stuff was nasty. I felt like I sat down and got right back up."
The left-hander, who will be making his road season debut, went 5-0 with a 3.25 ERA in his last six road starts of 2010.
Seattle outfielder Milton Bradley broke out of a 1-for-12 slump with a 2-for-4 effort - including a home run - in the series opener.
Third baseman Chone Figgins went 1 for 1 with a walk before leaving with a bruised left thumb. Figgins, 3 for 29 in his last eight games, is uncertain for this contest.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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