- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2016

TORONTO (AP) - After going almost three weeks between starts, Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada felt a little out of sorts against Seattle.

James Paxton pitched seven strong innings to win for the first time in three starts, Seth Smith doubled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and the Mariners beat the Blue Jays 2-1 on Friday night, snapping Toronto’s winning streak at three.

Estrada (5-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings. Estrada, who is winless in four starts, had surrendered five hits or fewer in his previous 13 outings.

“I felt good, just rusty,” Estrada said. “I threw a lot of first-pitch balls, I was behind in the count a lot. It was tough, it was a grind.”

Estrada (back) was activated off the 15-day disabled list before the game. He was placed on the DL on July 6, one day after being named an All-Star for the first time.

Seattle loaded the bases with one out in the sixth but Estrada struck out Shawn O’Malley before Kevin Pillar made a sliding catch on Norichaka Aoki’s liner to shallow center.

“He did a nice job,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Estrada. “He can work out of those jams with the best of them.”

Paxton (3-4) gave up one run and three hits. He walked one and struck out nine, one shy of his season-high.

“Paxton was great tonight,” Gibbons said. “He was really dominating.”

Working with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. between starts gave Paxton the best curveball he’s had this season.

“Before these starts I was creeping down a little bit and getting too sidearm, getting on the side of the ball,” Paxton said. “It wasn’t allowing me to get on top of the curveball. Bringing my arm up a little bit more has allowed me to get on top of that curveball.”

Toronto is 9-17 in one-run games.

The Mariners have won five straight and 14 of 20 against AL East opponents this season.

Edwin Diaz worked the eighth and Steve Cishek finished for his 23rd save.

Edwin Encarnacion drew a two-out walk in the ninth and Troy Tulowitzki singled but Cishek ended it by striking out All-Star Michael Saunders.

Paxton retired 16 of the first 17 batters he faced. The only blemish in that span was a one-out solo homer by Saunders in the second.

Back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game at Arizona because of a personal matter, Saunders connected in his first career at-bat against the team that drafted him in 2004 and traded him to Toronto before the 2015 season.

After Saunders homered, Paxton set down the next 12 batters before Josh Thole’s one out walk in the seventh. Josh Donaldson advanced Thole to third with a two-out double but Paxton escaped by striking out Encarnacion on a 2-2 pitch.

“That was huge,” manager Scott Servais said. “He made huge pitches there.”

ROSTER SHUFFLE

Toronto also activated LHP Franklin Morales (shoulder) off the 60-day disabled list and optioned LHP Aaron Loup and INF Andy Burns to Triple-A Buffalo. To make room for Morales, Toronto designated RHP Dustin Antolin for assignment.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: SS Ketel Marte has been diagnosed with mononucleosis and is expected to go on the 15-day DL on Saturday. Seattle recalled INF Luis Sardinas from Triple-A Tacoma to replace LHP Mike Montgomery, who was traded Wednesday to the Chicago Cubs. The Mariners are expected to recall a pitcher from Tacoma on Saturday.

Blue Jays: C Russell Martin is expected to miss at least two games after he slipped and fell in the shower Thursday. Martin passed out after spending too much time in the sauna and overheating. An MRI showed no structural damage to his knee. … OF Jose Bautista (left big toe) started and played seven innings in RF in his first rehab game at Triple-A Buffalo on Friday. He went 0 for 3 with a strikeout.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-6, 4.01) is 4-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his past four outings and has won nine of his last 11 starts.

Blue Jays: RHP R.A. Dickey (7-10, 4.11) allowed three home runs at Oakland on July 16, losing for the first time in three outings.

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