SEATTLE (AP) -- Forget Kelvim Escobar, the closer. These days,
he's unstoppable as a starter.
Escobar, who logged 38 saves last season, earned his career-high
fourth straight victory and Carlos Delgado hit his 33rd home run as
the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 5-2 on Thursday
Escobar probably has seen his last days in relief, at least for
"You can't say never," he said, laughing. "You never know. It
wouldn't surprise me, but right now I'm doing pretty good as a
Escobar (9-6) threw into the eighth, holding the Mariners to
eight hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. He improved to 4-0
since the All-Star break and 6-1 on the road with a 2.03 ERA. He
has a 1.21 ERA in three August victories.
"He's a guy who had a four- or five-pitch repertoire," Toronto
manager Carlos Tosca said. "In the closer's role, he just didn't
have the opportunity to get to those pitches."
Escobar left after giving up a leadoff single by Edgar Martinez
in the eighth. Martinez also had two doubles, one of the few
Mariners to connect against Escobar.
"He has closer stuff, but he has really settled into the
starter's role," Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. "He has a
splitter and changeup, and he gets up to 95 mph with a breaking
ball on top of it. He was tough tonight."
Rookie Aquilino Lopez pitched the ninth for his fifth save in
seven opportunities and second of the series.
The Blue Jays and Mariners split the four-game series, and
Seattle was unable to extend its AL West lead beyond four games
after Boston beat Oakland earlier. The Red Sox visit for a
three-game set starting Friday.
"It's a nice way to finish up," Tosca said. "This is a tough
place to play and they have an excellent ballclub. To get out of
here with a split is great. With Kelvim pitching that way, it gives
us a chance to match up."
Escobar is a power pitcher, rocketing fastballs at the Mariners
all night. His most effective pitch, though, was a deceptive
"My breaking ball's been good and my changeup has been good,"
he said. I think a changeup is one of the best pitches you can
have. It looked like a fastball. They couldn't recognize it."
Delgado led off the second with a 382-foot shot over the wall in
right for a 1-0 lead. It came on a 3-2 pitch from Gil Meche (13-8)
and moved Delgado into second place behind New York's Jason Giambi
(34) for the AL lead in home runs.
Delgado also had a fourth-inning triple, helping the Blue Jays
extend the lead to 4-0 with three more runs.
After his one-out triple to center, Delgado scored when Greg
Myers singled past drawn-in shortstop Rey Sanchez. Myers was thrown
out trying to steal second, but Frank Catalonotto singled and
scored on Tom Wilson's double.
Orlando Hudson singled to left, driving in Wilson to make it
In his last start, Meche worked eight innings to outduel Andy
Pettitte for a 2-1 win Saturday at Yankee Stadium. This time, he
lasted only to the fourth, throwing 94 pitches and giving up four
runs on seven hits with one strikeout.
"It was almost like they were looking for certain pitches,"
Meche said. "They were being really patient. The times I made good
pitches, they kept fouling them off, pitch after pitch."
It was only the 10th time a Mariners starter failed to reach the
Seattle reliever RHP Rafael Soriano took a lined shot off
his right knee on a fifth-inning single by Vernon Wells but stayed
in for two more innings. ... The Blue Jays recalled RHP Brian
Bowles from Triple-A Syracuse, optioning RHP Corey Thurman to
Syracuse. ... Toronto SS Mike Bordick went 0-for-4, ending his
20-game hitting streak.