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Cishek closes out Paxton's gem, Mariners take game one

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

7/22 at TOR by TOM HAYDEN

ROGERS CENTRE, TORONTO, ON. CANADA ----

It's a good game too watch when your pitcher is dealing for you, and LHP James Paxton was certainly dealing on Friday night on his home soil in Canada. The start was Paxton's tenth of the season, and all of which have been decent outings for the left hander. Offensively, LF Nori Aoki and RF Seth Smith had good days at the plate as well. With the win, the Mariners now find themselves at 2 games above .500 with a W-L record of 49-47! In the American League West standings, Seattle now only sits 5.5 games behind a struggling as of late Texas Rangers team (55-42), and only 3.0 games behind the Houston Astros (52-44). For a wild card spot, the Mariners are behind only 2 other teams (HOU, DET) and are tied with the New York Yankees, 4.5 games back. 

Offensively on Friday night in the great city of Toronto, the Mariners combined to put up 2 runs on 9 hits on TOR RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Bo Schultz, and RHP Joe Biagini. LF Nori Aoki (.248 AVG) batted in the leadoff spot, and had himself a night. He leadoff the ball game with a triple into the right center field gap (4th triple of season for Aoki) and also connected for his 9th double of the season on Friday night. Nori went 2-5 at the plate. Scoring Aoki in the first inning was 2B Robinson Canó (now has 61 RBI on the season so far). Canó (.300 AVG) struggled at the plate however going 0-for-5 on Friday night. DH Nelson Cruz (.287 AVG) went 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of hits. It was RF Seth Smith (.273 AVG) who connected for his 200th career double on Friday night down the third base line to score Shawn O'Malley in the top of the fifth inning, giving Seattle the 2-1 lead. Smith's RBI double now gives him 42 on the season. O'Malley was able to score after a CLUTCH stolen base, his third stolen base of the season. The stolen base put him in scoring position for Smith's double. SS Shawn O'Malley (.220 AVG), C Mike Zunino (.286 AVG), 1B Adam Lind (.231 AVG), and 3B Kyle Seager (.283 AVG) each connected for a hit on Friday night. Adam Lind connected for his 10th double of the season. 

On the mound on Friday night, LHP James Paxton was lights out in his tenth start of the season. Paxton, a native of Canada, went a full 7.0 innings strong giving up only 1 run on 3 hits (earned) while striking out 9 and only walking 1 Blue Jay. The only run given up was a solo HR from former Mariner, Michael Saunders in the second inning of the game. Paxton obviously earned himself a win, and he now has a W-L record of 3-4 on the season with an ERA of 4.18. Relieving Paxton were RHP Edwin Diaz (2.08 ERA, Hold- 10), and RHP closer Steve Cishek (2.86 ERA, Save- 23). Diaz was magnificent yet again, as he tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning for the third game in a row. Diaz struck out a pair on Friday night, and he now has 44 strikeouts in 21.2 innings pitched so far this season. For Steve Cishek, he pitched well in the ninth and certainly did his job, closing out the win and the gem for James Paxton. Cishek gave up a hit and a walk in his outing, but he also struck out 3 Blue Jays to complete the win. 

WHAT'S NEXT? :

The Mariners will now look to jump to 3 games above .500 as we are set and ready to play Game 2 of this 3-game series on Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. With a win, the M's will have clinched their second straight series win. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma will make his 20th start of the 2016 season so far for Seattle this season. Iwakuma (10-6, 4.01 ERA) is seeking his fourth straight win on Saturday afternoon. Kuma and the M's will face TOR knuckleball throwing RHP R.A. Dickey (7-10, 4.11 ERA). Be sure to catch the game 2 action on ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle radio! First pitch start time is an early one for viewers in the Pacific Northwest- 10:07 AM PAC, 1:07 PM ET!

This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue. 

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