Mariners center fielder Michael Saunders is from Victoria, B. C., which is a long way from Rogers Centre. But he has family in the Toronto...
TORONTO — Mariners center fielder Michael Saunders is from Victoria, B.C., which is a long way from Rogers Centre.
But he has family in the Toronto area. On visits as a youngster he would take in a Blue Jays game. He also watched the Blue Jays on television.
But he is at a loss to explain his success at Rogers Centre.
He hit two solo home runs and had a run-scoring double in Saturday’s 8-1 win over the Blue Jays. It was his fourth career multihomer game and his second at Rogers Centre. The other was April 27, 2012.
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Saunders has five home runs, four doubles and 11 runs batted in in his past 10 games at Rogers Centre dating to Sept. 22, 2010.
“I don`t know, just another place,” Saunders said. “Sometimes it`s weird like that. Pitchers, hitters, they have their places or their teams or what it may be. I don`t know, to be honest. I see the ball well, I guess.”
Saunders’ first homer came on a fastball from knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey on a 1-0 pitch to lead off the game. It was his second leadoff homer of the season and the second of his career. The other came on April 29 against the Baltimore Orioles in his first plate appearance after coming off the disabled list.
“He had a big day for us,” manager Eric Wedge said. “He just brings a lot of energy and intensity to the top of our lineup, our lineup in general, whether it be a left-hander on the mound, a right-hander on the mound, he’s going to put up spirited at-bats.”
• With the Blue Jays starting a knuckleball pitcher in Dickey on Saturday, Wedge made some lineup adjustments. He added catcher Kelly Shoppach, designated hitter Raul Ibanez, shortstop Robert Andino and left fielder Endy Chavez, none of whom started in Friday’s 4-0 win over the Blue Jays.
“It’s difficult,” Wedge said. “You just try to make him get the ball up and try not to chase, but it’s hard. There’s no rhyme or reason to what it’s doing. And this guy is even a little bit different because he has a little more on it when he wants to. We’ve got a couple of veterans in there.”
It worked out. Ibanez and Shoppach took two-out walks to load the bases in the fourth for Dustin Ackley, who hit his first career grand slam.
• The Mariners’ 4-0 win over the Blue Jays on Friday was the first time they had shut out Toronto since June 1, 2005 at Safeco Field. It was the first time the Mariners had shut out the Blue Jays in Toronto since June 1, 1987 at the old Exhibition Stadium.
• Third baseman Kyle Seager was 0 for 5 to end a nine-game hitting streak against the Blue Jays since April 28, 2012. He had three hits in Friday’s 4-0 win over the Blue Jays, including a home run.
• Jason Bay did not play Saturday and has a season-best seven-game hitting streak going after hitting his third homer of the season on Friday.