Mariners down Jays in series opener

Josh Wilson had a two RBI triple in the eighth inning to lead the Seattle Mariners past the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Thursday night at the Rogers Centre.

“King” Felix Hernandez had 11 strikeouts and pitched eight solid innings for the Mariners (80-83) to earn his sixth straight victory, and 17th of the year.

Jays’ pitcher Ricky Romero lasted six and a third innings and was rather shaky all night as he walked five Seattle batters.

The California native, however, did not earn the loss as it was Jesse Carlson who was victimized by Wilson’s game-winning drive to fall to 1-6.

Aaron Hill hit three doubles, while Vernon Wells also had a solid outing for the Jays (69-84), hitting a home run and driving in four RBIs.

Hill tried to get at Hernandez early hitting a one-out double in the first inning.  However, he was left stranded at second as the Venezuelan star struck out the next two batters in Adam Lind and Wells.

In the second inning, Jays third-baseman Edwin Encarnacion misplayed a chopper by Bill Hall to load the bases for the Mariners with nobody out.

Matt Tuiasosopo then hit a sacrifice fly to cash in Mike Sweeney to make it 1-0 Seattle.

Their lead increased to 3-0 when Franklin Guttierez took Romero deep and hit a two-run home run to left field in the third inning.

Toronto tied the game in the sixth when Wells came through in the clutch by hitting a three-run homer that cashed in both Lind and Hill.

Romero was very alert in picking off Josh Wilson at first base in the seventh.  But soon after, the rookie lost a race to first to tag out Ichiro Suzuki, who had hit his second single of the night.

Defensively the Jays were fairly solid turning five double plays, while ninth batter John McDonald showed some power hitting a couple of singles and going 2 for 3.

Lead-off batter Jose Bautista had a disappointing game going 0 for 4 and striking out three times against Hernandez.

David Aardsma earned the save for Seattle and his 36 save of the season.

The four-game series continues tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m.