TORONTO — After a string of deflating losses, everything finally went right for the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday at Rogers Centre.
Mark DeRosa belted a three-run homer and Melky Cabrera added a solo shot as Toronto crushed the Seattle Mariners 10-2 to end a four-game losing skid. The Blue Jays had a season-high 15 hits and Brandon Morrow turned in a solid eight-inning performance for his first win of the season.
“That’s a pretty good recipe today for winning,” said manager John Gibbons.
“Great pitching and we made a lot of things happen offensively, we got a lot of hits.
“It was a good game. We’ve been waiting for that one.”
DeRosa, Cabrera and Maicer Izturis had three hits apiece for the 11-21 Blue Jays, who avoided the three-game sweep. Joe Saunders absorbed the loss as Seattle (15-18) had its three-game winning streak come to an end.
It was a rare offensive outburst from the Blue Jays, who had struggled at the plate throughout the 2-4 homestand.
“We were desperate for that, we needed something like that,” Gibbons said of the victory. “It’s not like we’re just waiting to get on a roll. We needed a win and they were hard to come by.
“Hopefully that spurs something … we’ll see.”
Cabrera opened the bottom of the fifth inning with his first homer of the season. DeRosa followed a few batters later with a rainbow shot — his second homer of the season — that landed in the centre-field seats.
“No one’s giving up in here,” DeRosa said. “We’re going to keep fighting. We’ve got the guys to do it and we’re going to keep going. Brandon pitched a heck of a game for us.”
Morrow (1-2) allowed just three hits and had just one bad inning.
He issued back-to-back walks to open the fifth and loaded the bases on two occasions before escaping on a Michael Morse fly ball.
Morrow gave up two earned runs in the frame and finished the day with five walks and eight strikeouts.
It was the longest start by a Toronto pitcher this season.
“It always helps when you get a lead pitching,” Morrow said.
“You can be more aggressive and you feel good about throwing the ball in the strike zone, you don’t worry about guys getting on.
“It’s always nice to get some run support.”
Saunders (2-4) lasted five innings and allowed seven earned runs, nine hits and walked a pair.
“It was a battle today for sure,” he said. “They put some good swings and on some good pitches — just one of those days.”
Toronto leadoff hitter Rajai Davis opened the scoring in the first inning. He doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Cabrera and scored when Jose Bautista hit a flare to short right field.
Seattle second baseman Dustin Ackley was hampered by the blinding sunlight and did well to make an off-balance catch for the out. Davis took advantage and sped home on the sacrifice fly.
Toronto added a pair of runs in the second inning. J.P. Arencibia singled and moved to third on a double from DeRosa. Izturis followed with an RBI single and DeRosa later scored when Munenori Kawasaki hit a slow grounder to short.
Canadian outfielder Michael Saunders made a couple of nice defensive plays in the third. The Victoria native ran into the gap in left-centre field to snag a drive from Edwin Encarnacion before jumping against the wall to rob Arencibia of an extra-base hit.
The sun was a factor again in the bottom of the seventh as three Seattle players converged on a DeRosa fly ball in shallow right-centre field. It fell in for DeRosa’s third extra-base hit of the game and he later scored on a Kawasaki single.
Cabrera added another RBI later in the frame when he drove in Maicer Izturis for Toronto’s 10th run.
Blue Jays reliever Steve Delabar set the Mariners down in order in the ninth inning. The game took two hours 27 minutes to play and announced attendance was 22,937.
Notes: Toronto will kick off a four-game series at Tampa Bay on Monday night. Left-hander Mark Buehrle (1-2) is scheduled to start against right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (1-2). The Mariners will continue their road swing with a two-game series at Pittsburgh beginning Tuesday. … Seattle had lost 33 of 46 games in Toronto prior to this three-game series. The Mariners outscored the Blue Jays 12-1 over the first two games. … Toronto has yet to win a series at home this season, dropping five and splitting one. … Morrow and R.A. Dickey are tied for the team lead with four quality starts apiece.