Former Gamecock Justin Smoak homers in Jays win Sunday
TORONTO (AP) — Even as he rounded the bases on his first career walkoff home run, Kevin Pillar was thinking about how he wanted to share the special moment with his mom.
Pillar homered with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Toronto Blue Jays a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday and a sweep of their four-game series.
After delighting the Mother’s Day crowd of 42,030 with a blast to left off Edwin Diaz (1-2), his fifth, Pillar wriggled away from a group of celebrating teammates at home plate and scampered into Toronto’s dugout.
“I wanted to keep my jersey on because I told my mom we’d get a picture after the game,” Pillar said. “I didn’t want it to rip completely. I saw what happened to (teammate Ryan Goins after a game-winning hit against Cleveland on Wednesday). His jersey is not even recognizable anymore.”
Pillar was still wearing his jersey during an on-field television interview moments later when infielder Darwin Barney doused him with Gatorade. Even so, a few orange stains didn’t dampen the mood for Pillar’s eventual family photo.
“It’s a great way to wrap up Mother’s Day,” Pillar said. “Those are memories that I’ll remember the rest of my life and we’ve got the photo to remember it.”
Pillar came in leading the AL with 47 hits, one ahead of New York’s Starlin Castro.
“Pillar’s been swinging the bat probably as hot as anybody in the league,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Justin Smoak added a two-run homer for Toronto, which has won five straight and seven of eight.
The Mariners have lost four straight following a four-game winning streak. They scored six runs over the four games in Toronto after scoring 21 in their previous two games.
“That’s really what cooled off obviously, our bats,” Servais said.
The Blue Jays lead the majors with 21 homers in May.
Ryan Tepera (3-1) pitched 2 1/3 innings for the win.
Pillar also made a jumping catch in center, taking a hit away from Danny Valencia in the fourth, when Seattle had runners at first and second.
“You can’t say enough good things about how Kevin is playing,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He’s having a tremendous year.”
Smoak gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead with his shot off James Pazos in the sixth. The Mariners responded in the seventh when Jarrod Dyson hit a leadoff blast against Dominic Leone.
Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez (blister) was activated off the 10-day disabled list before the game, and allowed one unearned run in five innings.
Sanchez had not started since April 30, when he lasted just one inning against Tampa Bay because his troublesome middle finger started bleeding. Prior to that abbreviated outing, Sanchez pitched 5 1/3 innings against Baltimore on April 14.
Sanchez acknowledged that his finger was bleeding at times during the game, but said it didn’t affect him.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
The last Blue Jays center fielder to hit a walkoff home run was Vernon Wells, who did it against New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on July 20, 2006.
NEW PARK ON LONG BALL LIST
Dyson’s eighth career homer was his first outside of Kansas City’s Kaufman Stadium. Dyson spent his first seven seasons with the Royals before joining the Mariners this season.
Mariners: 2B Robinson Cano (right quadriceps) missed his fourth straight game. … Seattle put RHP Ryan Weber (right biceps) on the 10-day DL and recalled RH Dan Altavilla from Triple-A Tacoma. … RHP Jean Machi, who was designated for assignment Saturday, was outrighted to Tacoma.
Blue Jays: LF Steve Pearce left with a sore right calf after a double in the second. Gibbons said Pearce will undergo an MRI. … C Russell Martin (left shoulder) played catch before the game. … To make room for Sanchez, RHP Leonel Campos was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Mariners: Seattle returns home Monday to begin a three-game series against Oakland. RHP Yovani Gallardo (1-3, 4.58) starts the opener against Athletics LHP Sean Manaea (1-2, 5.18). Gallardo has finished at least five innings in all seven starts this season, but has yet to complete the seventh.
Blue Jays: RHP Mike Bolsinger (0-1, 3.18) starts the opener of a two-game series against Atlanta. Bolsinger allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings against Cleveland in his first start of the season on May 9. RHP Bartolo Colon (1-4, 7.22) starts for the Braves.