TORONTO (AP) - In a difficult season for Seattle, Jose Lopez has struggled to match the career-high 25 home runs he hit last year. For one night at least, he was back to his old self.
Lopez hit three home runs, Michael Saunders added a two-run drive and the Mariners beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 on Wednesday night.
``Now I feel like the same guy as last year,' a smiling Lopez said.
Lopez hit a solo shot off starter Kyle Drabek in the third inning, led off the sixth with a drive against reliever Brian Tallet and connected off reliever Shawn Camp in the eighth. It was his first multihomer game of the season and fourth of his career.
``When I hit the third one, I touched first base and felt like 'Yes!'' Lopez said, raising one fist in the air. ``I felt really happy.'
Lopez, who has 10 home runs, hit all three homers to left field.
``I think (Lopez) showed me up a little bit,' Saunders joked. ``He's the hero tonight.
``It's nice to see,' Saunders added. ``Hopefully this gets him rolling and he can finish the season strong because he's really not a 10-home run guy, he's normally putting up more than that.'
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez had one quibble with Lopez's power surge: it happened one day before his next start. Hernandez's message to Lopez? Save some for tomorrow.
``I said no, if I get it tonight, I get it tonight,' Lopez replied.
It was the 11th three-homer performance in Mariners history. Mike Cameron had Seattle's only four-homer game, doing it May 2, 2002, against the Chicago White Sox.
Saunders added a two-run shot in the second as the Mariners won for the third time in five games after a seven-game losing streak.
Vernon Wells had a solo shot, Toronto's major league-best 233rd. The Blue Jays hit a club-record 244 homers in 2000.
Seattle's starting lineup had combined for only 38 home runs, fewer than the major league-high 49 of Toronto's Jose Bautista, but it was the Mariners who came out on top in this one.
``(Lopez) was on today,' Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. ``I think we certainly made some mistakes today, but he sure let us know we made them.'
Seattle, which has scored a major league-low 481 runs, improved to 37-19 when scoring four runs or more.
David Pauley (3-8) came in winless in five starts but earned his first victory since Aug. 18 by allowing two runs and six hits in six innings.
``Tonight, everybody was clicking,' Pauley said. ``Lopez had a phenomenal game today. It's fun to watch games like that.'
Pauley walked two and matched a season-high with five strikeouts.
Jamey Wright pitched two innings and former Blue Jays reliever Brandon League worked the ninth, surrendering an RBI groundout to John Buck.
Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 1 for 5, leaving him two hits from becoming the first player to record 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons. Suzuki leads the majors with 198 hits.
Bautista went 1 for 4 with a double.
Fans cheered when Bautista hammered a 2-1 pitch down the left field line in the fifth, but the ball hooked foul. Bautista got a loud ovation as he returned to home plate to pick up his bat.
Making his second career start and his home debut, Drabek (0-2) allowed three runs and four hits, including two homers, in five innings. The key player acquired by Toronto in last December's trade with Philadelphia for Roy Halladay, Drabek walked one and struck out three.
``Looking back at it, we should have brought him up after the All-Star break,' Gaston said.
The Mariners opened the scoring in the second when Ryan Langerhans hit a two-out single and Saunders followed with a homer to center, his ninth.
Lopez made it 3-0 with a two-out shot to left in the third before Toronto closed the gap with a two-run fourth. Wells led off with his 29th homer, and second in as many days, and Edwin Encarnacion had an RBI-groundout.
Lopez homered again on Tallet's first pitch of the sixth, then greeted Camp with a two-run homer in the eighth.
Notes: The Mariners promoted four players from Triple-A Tacoma, recalling INF Mike Carp, OF Greg Halman and RHP Anthony Varvaro and purchasing the contract of INF Matt Mangini. ... Seattle DH Russell Branyan and OF Franklin Gutierrez were both unavailable because of flu-like symptoms. ... Blue Jays third base coach Brian Butterfield and bench coach Nick Leyva said they will apply to replace the departing Gaston as Toronto manager. Hitting coach Dwayne Murphy said he is not interested in the job.
The Associated Press News Service
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