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Kyle Seager carries Mariners to 4-3 victory over Toronto
Erasmo Ramirez earns first major-league victory, and Kyle Seager hits 18th home run as Seattle opens trip with a victory in Toronto.
Special to The Seattle Times
M's @ Toronto, 4:07 p.m., ROOT
TORONTO — Even the first error in three years by center fielder Franklin Gutierrez could not prevent Erasmo Ramirez from his first major-league victory on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old right-hander just became more determined when Gutierrez's first error in 301 games on a fly to the warning track put Kelly Johnson at second base with none out in the seventh inning.
Ramirez (1-2) worked out of the inning to finish his night — six hits, one walk, two runs, six strikeouts — and the bullpen allowed one run in the eighth as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 at Rogers Centre.
Tom Wilhelmsen pitched the ninth for his 25th save and Kyle Seager had three hits, including a run-scoring single in the first and his 18th homer in the fifth that provided what proved to be the winning run.
Manager Eric Wedge said he did not feel the need to remove Ramirez from the game after he walked Anthony Gose with two out.
"I felt he was still in control there," Wedge said. "I felt he was still making pitches, executing pitches, he bowed his neck, he turned it up a notch there."
Ramirez retired Brett Lawrie on a fly to center to end the inning and conclude his fifth major-league start, his first in the majors since June 25. Since then he spent time on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his elbow and had a stint in the minors.
"But there's a lot of emotion there too and so we felt (the seventh) was enough for him, his first start back," Wedge said. "He had to leave that runner out there, he did a great job."
Gutierrez had gone an American League record of 846 chances without an error when he couldn't come up the ball to lead off the seventh and it fell to the warning track.
"I've got no excuses for that fly ball," Gutierrez said. "I was running on my heels and when you're running on your heels there's nothing you can do. Your head is moving. I should have made that catch. It just happens."
His previous error was Aug. 21, 2009.
"When he got turned around he got on his heels a little bit, and when you do that the ball changed direction a little bit," Wedge said. "It's just one of those things. He's human, he's been on an unbelievable stretch. He's one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, if not the best. It's just one those things that happens, for him once in about three years I guess."
The seventh was the second time in the game that Ramirez had a runner at second with none out. Yunel Escobar led off the fourth with a double and Ramirez retired the next three batters.
Meanwhile, Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow (8-6), the Mariners' No. 1 draft pick (fifth overall) in 2006, gave up 11 hits and four runs in 4-2/3 innings.
"Morrow has given us fits," Wedge said. "He's been so good against us."
It was Morrow's first loss in four starts against the Mariners. He has three wins.
"Stuffwise, it was the same," Seager said. "He's got really good stuff, a live fastball and a good slider and changeup and everything and fortunately we were able to put some good swings on some balls. He's got good off-speed stuff so it's not something you want to swing at."
Seager and Michael Saunders singled home runs in first as the Mariners took a 2-0 lead. It might have been a better inning but John Jaso was thrown out at home by left fielder Rajai Davis as he tried to score from second on Saunders' single.
The Blue Jays countered with a run in the first on a single by Escobar. But Gutierrez threw out Adam Lind who tried to go first to third on Escobar's hit.
Jaso singled to score Seager who had doubled with one out in the third. But Jaso was thrown out by Davis for the second time in the game when he tried to go from first to third on a single by Jesus Montero.
Seager led off the fifth with his 18th homer of the season.
The Mariners used four pitchers to face four batters in the eighth. Colby Rasmus led off with a double against Charlie Furbush. Rasmus moved to third on Edwin Encarnacion's fly out to center against Josh Kinney and scored on a ground out by pinch-hitter Moises Sierra against Lucas Luetge. Stephen Pryor struck out Escobar to end the inning.