SEATTLE 7 TORONTO 2
Jason Vargas had said all along he wanted to stay with the Mariners.
And one of the first things he did to thank them for keeping him was strike out the side Tuesday night in the very first inning. Things didn't always go as perfectly for Vargas in this 7-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, but they didn't have to thanks to an offence that once again scored early and often.
The Mariners pounded onetime teammate Aaron Laffey for four runs the first two innings and then Vargas withstood a brief barrage to win his fifth consecutive start.
Dustin Ackley homered on Lackey's very first pitch of the game, while Trayvon Robinson and Miguel Olivo each had a double and a two-hit game to pace Seattle's attack.
A crowd of 21,434 at Safeco Field watched the Mariners win their sixth in a row - and ninth in 11 tries - while climbing back into positive run differential for the season.
Olivo's two-run single off relief pitcher Brandon Lyon in the fifth inning gave the Mariners one more run scored than allowed after spending the majority of the year in negative territory.
For Vargas, the decision by the team not to trade him by Tuesday's deadline means he could be a Mariner for some time.
Vargas improved to 12-7 on the season with a 3.71 earned-run average and remains on-pace for well over 200 innings pitched.
Vargas entered the night with a 1.46 ERA for July that was the American League's best. He finished July with a 5-0 record and a 1.64 ERA that will certainly have him a candidate for AL Pitcher of the Month honours.
If he keeps those numbers up, he'd be a shoo-in to double his $4.8.million salary in arbitration, which means the Mariners could look to sign him to an extension beforehand. Such a move would lock Vargas up for multiple years and at annual wage lower than he'd earn in a one-year arbitration settlement.