Mariners get the best of Rays in opener

Mariners get the best of Rays in opener

ST. PETERSBURG -- Robinson Cano led the Mariners' offense en route to a 4-1 Memorial Day win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Cano and Nelson Cruz hit RBI singles off Rays starter Jake Odorizzi in the first inning to put the Mariners up, 2-0.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cano showing signs of breakthrough

Cano showing signs of breakthrough

ST. PETERSBURG -- Robinson Cano hasn't had many extended slumps in his career, so the relief was visible when he smoked an RBI single in the first inning of Seattle's 4-1 victory over the Rays on Monday and followed with another run-scoring base hit in the eighth.

"That's what I want," Cano said after going 2-for-4 with his first two RBIs in the past 12 games. "I worked so hard in the offseason, but nothing is going to be perfect. You're going to go through good things and bad things. My career has had a lot of good things. It's times like this when you have to be ready, and those are the kind of things that make you stronger and a better player."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Elias has become much more than a fill-in

Elias has become much more than a fill-in

ST. PETERSBURG -- Left-hander Roenis Elias has now made six starts in place of the injured Hisashi Iwakuma, but the youngster is doing more than just filling in. Elias has become one of the cornerstones of Seattle's improved pitching staff, and he recorded his fifth straight quality start in Seattle's 4-1 win over Tampa Bay on Monday.

"Any time you lose a guy of Iwakuma's status, that's a big hit," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "But it was nice to have this young man there waiting in the wings. And he hasn't disappointed."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jackson to come off DL on Tuesday

Jackson to come off DL on Tuesday

ST. PETERSBURG -- Center fielder Austin Jackson will be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday and is expected to immediately be back in the lineup against the Rays as he returns from a three-week absence with a sprained right ankle.

In a corresponding move, reliever Danny Farquhar was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after Monday's 4-1 victory over the Rays. Seattle will temporarily go with a six-man bullpen, which buys time to solve the position-player log jam created by Jackson's return.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Happ hopes for better results at Tropicana Field

Happ hopes for better results at Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays will hand the ball to Alex Colome and J.A. Happ will start for the Mariners on Tuesday in the second game of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.

After two rough outings in which he allowed a combined 11 runs in 9 1/3 innings, Colome (3-1, 4.81 ERA) focused on getting ahead of hitters in his most recent start, against the Athletics, and it worked, as he threw first-pitch strikes to 15 of the 20 batters he faced and tossed five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out three en route to his third victory of the season. In three starts at home this season, he is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA.

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Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lowe adds veteran voice to Seattle's 'pen

Lowe adds veteran voice to Seattle's 'pen

ST. PETERSBURG -- When veteran reliever Mark Lowe signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners in December, more than a few eyebrows were raised, as people questioned why the 31-year-old would rest his fate on trying to land a job with one of baseball's deepest and best bullpens.

Lowe, a 10-year Major League veteran who pitched in two World Series for the Rangers, had spent most of the previous two seasons in the Minors with the Angels and Indians and seemingly was destined for more of the same with the Mariners.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rocky inning derails Walker as Mariners drop finale

Rocky inning derails Walker as Mariners drop finale

TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion and Ryan Goins homered while Aaron Sanchez tossed 6 2/3 strong innings in the Blue Jays' 8-2 victory over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

Chris Colabello reached base three times, and Justin Smoak added an RBI single as Toronto avoided falling eight games below .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013 season. The combined efforts also allowed the Blue Jays to avoid getting swept for the second time in their last three series.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miller embracing transition to super-utility role

Former everyday shortstop has played all three outfield spots, second base

Miller embracing transition to super-utility role

TORONTO -- The midseason transition of Brad Miller from starting shortstop to super-utility player has been one of the Mariners' more intriguing storylines in recent weeks, and that plot continues developing, as Miller filled in for second baseman Robinson Cano in Sunday's 8-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

Miller has now played all three outfield positions as well as second base, designated hitter and his familiar shortstop role in a one-week span. It's a big change, but Miller comes to the park each day with an open mind, waiting to see what role awaits.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Paxton keeps surging as Mariners top Jays

Paxton keeps surging as Mariners top Jays

TORONTO -- Left-hander James Paxton continued his strong recent surge on Saturday as the Mariners topped the Blue Jays, 3-2, for their second straight win at Rogers Centre.

Paxton saw his string of scoreless innings end at 20 on Edwin Encarnacion's first-inning sacrifice fly, but the 26-year-old Canadian wound up throwing six innings of two-run ball on four hits as he improved to 3-2 with a 3.52 ERA. Paxton is 3-1 with a 1.63 ERA over his last six starts for a Seattle club that is now 3-2 on this road trip and 20-22 overall. More >

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bloomquist delivers with bat, glove in Seattle win

Right fielder hits game-winning two-run double, nabs runner for key out

Bloomquist delivers with bat, glove in Seattle win

TORONTO -- The Mariners have had their "Boomstick" in right field much of the season with new slugger Nelson Cruz. But add "Bloomstick" to the mix after veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist stepped in for his first start in right this season, ripped the game-deciding two-run double and also threw out a runner at second in Seattle's 3-2 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday.

"I told Cruz, we found a power-hitting right fielder," said Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Paxton settles down, dazzles in return to native Canada

Lefty tosses six strong innings Saturday after struggling in homeland debut

Paxton settles down, dazzles in return to native Canada

TORONTO -- Coming home to Canada was a lot more satisfying for James Paxton on Saturday after he pitched the Mariners to a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays. The native of Ladner, British Columbia, was hit hard in his home-country debut a year ago, but made amends with six innings of four-hit ball as he won his third straight decision for Seattle.

"I think the more times we come up here each year, it'll get better and better, and I'll get more comfortable with it," Paxton said. ""It's always different to come back up here. I just have to know what that feels like so I'm ready for it."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McClendon concerned with Rodney's save rate, not ERA

Closer has 6.23 earned run average, but has converted 12 of 13 opportunities

McClendon concerned with Rodney's save rate, not ERA

TORONTO -- Mariners closer Fernando Rodney had allowed runs in five of his seven May appearances, but the veteran right-hander has recorded 10 straight saves since his one blown opportunity in early April, and manager Lloyd McClendon said that means Rodney is getting his job done. The closer did so again with a clean ninth in Seattle's 3-2 win over the Blue Jays.

Rodney allowed a two-run homer to Chris Colabello in Friday's 4-3 win over the Blue Jays, and his ERA is still a lofty 6.23 after Saturday's win, but he's saved 12 of 13 games this year and 33 of his last 34 opportunities dating back to last July.

"I don't think you worry about his ERA much," McClendon said prior to Saturday's game. "A lot of that is inflated from [two early-season games]. My old skipper told me this a long time ago: Your responsibility as a manager is to get the ball to your closer in the ninth inning. After that, what are you going to do? He either wins it or loses it."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

King Felix returns to form against Toronto

Ace right-hander allowed just one run and struck out eight in seven innings

King Felix returns to form against Toronto

TORONTO -- When last seen at Rogers Centre, Felix Hernandez was getting hit hard in a 10-2 loss to the Blue Jays last September in a game that might have cost him his second American League Cy Young Award and a series that ultimately cost Seattle a shot at an AL Wild Card berth.

But the King was back on his familiar perch on Friday, stifling Toronto on four hits and one run over seven innings in a 4-3 victory that improved his record to 7-1 with a 2.19 ERA.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cruz, LoMo back Felix's great outing

Cruz, LoMo back Felix's great outing

TORONTO -- Felix Hernandez had another dominating performance while Nelson Cruz homered and Logan Morrison added a two-run triple in the Mariners' 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

Hernandez surrendered a solo homer to Edwin Encarnacion in the first inning, but was borderline flawless from that point on. He faced the minimum from the second inning through the fifth and allowed only two baserunners to reach scoring position.

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Gregor Chisholm and Greg Johns are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cruz continues torrid power streak in opener

Outfielder crushes league-leading 17th home run to help beat Toronto

Cruz continues torrid power streak in opener

TORONTO -- The Mariners got another homer from Nelson Cruz on Friday and this time enough offense to go along with it to add up to a series-opening win as Seattle topped the Blue Jays, 4-3, at Rogers Centre.

Of Cruz's Major League-leading 17 home runs, 13 have been solo, including his leadoff line drive to center field in the sixth off Toronto's starter Marco Estrada. At the time, the blast gave Seattle a 4-1 lead, but it held up as the winning run after closer Fernando Rodney allowed a two-run homer in the ninth.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Saunders catches up with old teammates

Blue Jays outfielder one of four former Mariners on Toronto's squad

Saunders catches up with old teammates

TORONTO -- Michael Saunders is on the disabled list at the moment for the Blue Jays, so the longtime Mariners outfielder had plenty of time to catch up with old acquaintances prior to Friday's series opener with Seattle on Friday at Rogers Centre.

Saunders, traded to Toronto for lefty J.A. Happ in December, spent considerable time chatting with former teammates, trainers, coaches and media members on the field prior to batting practice. The Mariners were the only professional team he'd ever played for prior to this year.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rotation to stay in order after Happ's start

Left-hander tossed only 49 pitches on Thursday, but club will stick to schedule

Rotation to stay in order after Happ's start

TORONTO -- Even though J.A. Happ threw only two innings and 49 pitches in Seattle's rain-delayed 5-4 loss to the Orioles on Thursday in Baltimore, manager Lloyd McClendon said he'll keep the veteran lefty on his normal four days of rest before his next outing on Tuesday at Tampa Bay.

Happ's start was short-circuited by a two-hour, five-minute rain delay. After Happ gave up four runs in two innings, McClendon went to his bullpen for the remainder of the game due to the long waiting period.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners fall as comeback comes up short

Mariners fall as comeback comes up short

BALTIMORE -- J.J. Hardy delivered the decisive hit with a single up the middle in the eighth to give the Orioles a 5-4 win and series victory over the Mariners on a cold and rainy Thursday at Camden Yards.

Steve Pearce got Baltimore started in the first inning with a grand slam, the first of his career, but the game was halted due to rain in the middle of the third inning. Upon returning, the Mariners' bullpen held the Orioles hitless for five innings while tying the game at 4, thanks to Rickie Weeks' pinch-hit two-run single in the fourth and Logan Morrison's bases-loaded walk in the seventh.

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Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jake Kring-Schreifels is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Offense struggles following Seager's ejection

No. 5 hitter tossed after strikeout in fifth, misses two bases-loaded opportunities

Offense struggles following Seager's ejection

BALTIMORE -- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon will be the first to tell you that his team has done everything it could do to get in its own way through its first 40 games of the season.

Third baseman Kyle Seager's ejection in the fifth inning of the Mariners' 5-4 loss Thursday afternoon at Camden Yards was the latest stumble, helping cripple an offense that had plenty of chances to come back, but was ultimately unable to produce in several key moments.

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Jake Kring-Schreifels is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McClendon: Pitching staff starting to hit stride

Mariners manager credits bullpen with battling through early struggles

McClendon: Pitching staff starting to hit stride

BALTIMORE -- Aside from the recent hiccup from starter Taijuan Walker on Tuesday, manager Lloyd McClendon said before Thursday's series finale against the Orioles that his pitching staff is finally starting to gel.

"My guys have been very, very consistent," McClendon said. "And that's really encouraging when you get that type of pitching. It leads you to believe that you can put streaks together."

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Jake Kring-Schreifels is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Early run support boosts Elias' confidence

With offense behind him, lefty earns first win of 2015

Early run support boosts Elias' confidence

BALTIMORE -- Roenis Elias knew he was going to have a good day against the Orioles on Wednesday, judging from the way he was throwing in the bullpen prior to the game.

The young left-hander has pitched well all season, but that still has not translated into wins because the Mariners have struggled to get him runs. This time, Seattle got some early offense, and Elias did the rest, holding Baltimore scoreless into the eighth inning en route to a 4-1 victory.

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Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Elias, Ruggiano top O's to even series

Elias, Ruggiano top O's to even series

BALTIMORE -- Roenis Elias was dominant over 7 2/3 innings, holding the Orioles to one run in Seattle's series-tying 4-2 win Wednesday night.

Elias, who took a shutout into the eighth, struck out four and scattered six hits to pick up his first win this season. Justin Ruggiano went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer to back his effort.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castillo ready for new start with Mariners

Catcher to start in finale vs. O's after being traded from Cubs

Castillo ready for new start with Mariners

BALTIMORE -- Welington Castillo said he was "shocked" after being traded from the Cubs to the Mariners for right-handed pitcher Yoervis Medina this week.

Castillo, 28, signed with Chicago as a non-drafted free agent on Dec. 8, 2004, and spent his entire 11-year professional career with the organization. So there was some initial anxiety about moving to a new team.

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Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New uniform, same pop for Cruz in Baltimore

New uniform, same pop for Cruz in Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- Back in a familiar spot as he approached the batter's box at Camden Yards, Nelson Cruz tried to take in the moment.

In his first game back in Baltimore since signing a four-year deal with the Mariners in the offseason, Cruz received a warm reception from the 19,494 fans in attendance, who showered him with cheers and chants of 'Cruuuz.'

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Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walker roughed up as Mariners fall to O's

Walker roughed up as Mariners fall to O's

BALTIMORE -- Jimmy Paredes had a career-high four RBIs as the Orioles outpowered the Mariners with a series-opening 9-4 win on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

Paredes, who had a game-tying two-run single in the fourth off Mariners starter Taijuan Walker, clobbered reliever Danny Farquhar's 3-1 fastball in the sixth for a two-run homer to raise his average to .346 and give the O's a 7-4 lead. It was his sixth homer in 25 games.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Smith belts shot, brings one back in big 1st

Smith belts shot, brings one back in big 1st

BALTIMORE -- Mariners left fielder Seth Smith had a first inning to remember in Tuesday's series-opener against the Orioles, impressing with both his bat and his glove.

Smith opened the game with a leadoff home run, sending a 1-2 fastball from Miguel Gonzalez to deep right field for his fourth home run of the season.

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Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

O's fans give Cruz warm welcome before HR

O's fans give Cruz warm welcome before HR

BALTIMORE -- Nelson Cruz got nothing but love from Orioles fans on Tuesday night.

Cruz, last year's Most Valuable Oriole who helped lead the club to its first American League East title since 1997, stepped to the plate in the first inning to loud cheers at Camden Yards. It was exactly what the All-Star was hoping for.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.