Teoscar Hernandez, Mariners look to shake off Blue Jays

After reaching second base on Saturday, Teoscar Hernandez turned toward the Seattle Mariners‘ dugout, thumped his chest and let out a primal scream

It wasn’t quite like the previous night, when he was mobbed and doused by teammates after a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning, but it meant just as much.

Hernandez’s two-run double with two outs in the seventh Saturday afternoon broke a tie in the Mariners‘ 9-8 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays, Hernandez’s former team

The Mariners, who have pulled within 3 1/2 games of the Blue Jays for the American League’s third and final wild-card playoff berth, will go for a sweep of the three-game series Sunday afternoon in Seattle

“You are always trying to do good against the team that you were with, no matter what,” said Hernandez, acquired by Seattle in an offseason trade. “But I don’t have anything negative to say about them. Nothing personal either. The emotions are high and I was enjoying the moment.”

Hernandez tried to downplay the rivalry between the teams, despite thousands of Canadians making the trek across the border to cheer on the Blue Jays

“For me, when I was on the other side, I was never thinking about this being a rivalry or something,” Hernandez said. “Even now, for me — I don’t know if other players have something in their heads — but for me, it’s just another team that we’re facing.”

Saturday’s game featured seven home runs, including two by Seattle’s Cal Raleigh. The Blue Jays‘ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Mariners‘ Julio Rodriguez, who met two weeks ago in the All-Star Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park — a contest eventually won by Guerrero — also went deep

“What a game. Man, can you imagine if you had tickets to Taylor Swift and you watched that game? What a day,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said, a nod to the singer performing across the street at Lumen Field this weekend.

Toronto’s bullpen, which squandered a two-run lead Friday, couldn’t hold a 7-4 advantage heading into the bottom of the seventh Saturday.

“A bullpen that’s been really, really reliable for us the whole season had a little bit of a blip,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “That’s baseball. It works out like that sometimes.

The series finale is scheduled to feature a pair of right-handers in Toronto’s Alek Manoah (2-8, 6.18 ERA) and Seattle rookie Bryan Woo (1-2, 4.74).

Manoah was sent to the Florida Complex League in early June after losing seven consecutive decisions. He returned to the majors with a 12-2 win at Detroit on July 7, when he allowed one run on five hits over six innings with no walks and eight strikeouts.

His control problems resurfaced Tuesday in a 9-1 loss to visiting San Diego, as he gave up four runs on three hits in three innings, with five walks and no strikeouts.

Manoah is 0-1 with a 2.92 ERA in two career starts against Seattle. He didn’t get a decision in host Toronto’s 3-2 win on April 28 despite allowing two runs on six hits in five innings. He walked four and fanned seven.

Woo got hammered in his most recent start, giving up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in just 3 1/3 innings of a 10-3 loss to the visiting Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. He walked three and struck out four.

Woo will be facing the Blue Jays for the first time in his career

–Field Level Media

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