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May 22, 11:34 PM EDT

Estrada loses again, Mariners beat Blue Jays 4-3


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AP Photo/Nathan Denette

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TORONTO (AP) -- Marco Estrada gave the Blue Jays more innings than he had in three previous starts, but still couldn't deliver a win.

Nelson Cruz hit his big league-leading 17th home run, Felix Hernandez became the first seven-game winner in the majors and the Seattle Mariners beat Estrada and the Blue Jays 4-3 on Friday night.

Estrada (1-3) remained winless in four starts since joining the rotation on May 5. He allowed four runs and six hits in a season-high seven innings.

"Just one of those days," Estrada said. "Things didn't go my way."

In spite of the outcome, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was pleased with Estrada's performance.

"He was really good," Gibbons said. "I thought he was spotting his fastball really well and he mixed in some breaking balls."

Cruz hit a leadoff drive to center off Estrada in the sixth. The right-hander has allowed at least one homer in each of his past six starts, and 20 of his past 22.

"It was down and away, maybe even off the plate a little bit," Estrada said of the pitch to Cruz. "It just shows you how good he is."

Blue Jays pitchers have allowed homers in each of the past eight games, giving up 16 in that stretch.

Beaten by Boston in his previous outing, Hernandez (7-1) bounced back with seven sharp innings, lowering his ERA to 2.19.

Edwin Encarnacion's two-out homer in the first was the only blemish for Hernandez, who gave up four hits and walked two.

"Every time I come here he hits a homer against me," Hernandez said of Encarnacion. "It was a slider that stayed right in the middle of the plate."

The last time Hernandez pitched in Toronto, everyone was hitting him hard. The Blue Jays scored seven runs in one inning against Hernandez to dent Seattle's wild card hopes Sept. 23. It was the worst inning the 2010 Cy Young winner has ever endured.

"I was not thinking anything about what happened last year," Hernandez said. "I'm just trying to go out there and do my job and help the team win."

Hernandez did that this time, striking out eight to move past Catfish Hunter and into a tie with Orel Hershiser for 70th on baseball's career strikeout list.

Toronto lost for the eighth time in 10 games and fell to 2-9 in one-run games.

After Carson Smith worked the eighth, Chris Colabello hit a two-run homer off Fernando Rodney in the ninth.

Kevin Pillar was called out on video review after trying to dive around Logan Morrison's tag on a bunt attempt, with replays showing Morrison tagged Pillar on the right foot. Rodney got pinch-hitter Josh Donaldson to fly out for his 11th save.

The Mariners scored three times with a two-out rally in the fourth. Kyle Seager singled, Welington Castillo walked and Morrison hit a two-run triple past a diving Colabello in right.

"I was pretty sick about it," Colabello said of his costly miscue. "You get an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach."

Mike Zunino followed with an RBI double.

FAMILIAR FACES

The Blue Jays have three former Mariners on their team in 1B Justin Smoak, INF Munenori Kawasaki and OF Michael Saunders, who's currently on the 15-day DL.

KING OF THE ROAD

Hernandez is 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four road starts.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: OF Austin Jackson (right ankle) went 1 for 4 with a walk and struck out three times in his first five plate appearances in a rehab game with Triple-A Tacoma.

Blue Jays: Toronto put 2B Devon Travis (left shoulder) on the 15-day DL and selected Kawasaki from Triple-A Buffalo. ... Starting at DH, Jose Reyes (left ribs) went 1 for 3 and walked twice in his second rehab game with Buffalo.

UP NEXT

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (2-2, 3.59) carries a 20-inning scoreless streak into Saturday's start. Paxton hasn't allowed a run since Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer off him in the first inning on May 5. Paxton, from British Columbia, will make his second career start in Canada. He didn't fare well in the first, allowing a career-high nine runs - eight earned - in 2 2-3 innings last Sept. 22.

Blue Jays: LHP Mark Buehrle (5-3, 5.36) beat the Mariners in his only start against them last season, striking out 10 in eight shutout innings.

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