TORONTO — Before Mike Trout punished them at levels that seem beyond comprehension, there were other players that always seemed to hit and produce when playing the Seattle Mariners.
Vladimir Guerrero, who spent seven seasons of his Hall of Famer career playing in the American League West — six with the Angels, one with Texas — tormented the Mariners. While injuries had robbed him of his freakish athleticism in the field and on the bases, he still smacked around Seattle pitchers with great efficiency. In 57 career games vs. Seattle, Guerrero had a .338/.395/.581 slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) with 14 doubles, 13 homers and 46 RBI.
Now it’s his son’s turn.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., a prospect far more hyped than his father and mesmerized fans with his 91 homers in a home run derby he didn’t win, started his career vs. the Mariners in the footsteps of his father.
Guerrero Jr. blasted a two-run homer in the third inning Friday to break-open a one-run game and allowed the Blue Jays to cruise to a relatively easy 7-3 win over Seattle.
After using right-hander Matt Wisler for a second straight day as the opener and getting a second straight scoreless first inning and building a 2-0 lead, left-hander Wade LeBlanc, the Mariners’ bulk pitcher for the game, gave the runs right back and more in a less-than-stellar outing.
LeBlanc pitched the eight remaining innings, allowing seven runs on 11 hits, including four homers, with a walk and three strikeouts to fall to 6-7 on the season.
Staked a two-run lead on Tim Lopes’ two-run single in the top of second, LeBlanc struggled from his first pitch. He allowed three runs in the bottom of the inning on a run-scoring single from Brandon Drury and a two-run homer from Derek Fisher.
Still a 3-2 deficit isn’t insurmountable in the hitter friendly confines of the Rogers Centre. The Mariners had to plenty of power to come back.
It became much more difficult an inning later when Guerrero turned a change-up into a screaming line drive over the wall in left field for a two-run homer. Randall Grichuk followed with a solo homer to make it 6-2
Like the Mariners, the Blue Jays are in the midst of a rebuild that will take some time to reach culmination. But they are at least seeing some fruits of that process with Guerrero, shortstop Bo Bichette and second baseman Cavan Biggio — all sons of standout big league players — playing every night together. The Mariners best prospects were playing together in Springfield, Mo., on Friday night for the Class AA Arkansas Travelers.