(SportsNetwork.com) - The Seattle Mariners take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre as they go for a three-game series sweep.
Taijuan Walker heads to the mound for the Mariners as he looks to turn around a rough start to the 2015 campaign. Toronto will counter with starter Aaron Sanchez.
Walker, a 22-year-old righty, has struggled a bit at the start of this season. The youngster owns a 1-4 record over his first eight starts of the year, and is trying to tame a 7.47 earned run average. He has 36 strikeouts against 19 walks over 37 1/3 innings of work.
In his last outing on Tuesday against Baltimore, Walker only lasted 3 2/3 innings after surrendering seven hits and four runs with four walks. The Mariners dropped the contest, 9-4, but Walker wasn't hit with the defeat.
His one career start against Toronto was relatively successful, although he was tagged with the loss. Walker went eight innings and gave up four hits with one earned run, but his team couldn't generate any offense behind his strong outing.
Toronto's own 22-year-old hits the mound for his ninth start of the season. Sanchez is coming off a tough loss to the Angels in which he tossed 7 1/3 innings of six-hit, three-run ball in the Blue Jays' 3-2 defeat. It was Sanchez's second consecutive loss.
The young righty has been up and down this season, and enters the fray on Sunday with a 3-4 record and a 4.17 ERA. He's had plenty of documented control issues, having walked 32 batters in 45 1/3 innings (compared to just 30 strikeouts).
Toronto jumped ahead of Seattle early in Saturday's matinee game, but the Mariners made sure to erase that deficit to come back for a 3-2 victory - the second over the Blue Jays in this series.
James Paxton picked up the win and boosted his season record to 3-2. Paxton worked six innings and produced a solid outing, holding the hosts to four hits and two runs with four strikeouts. Fernando Rodney entered the game in the home half of the ninth to shut the door and pick up his 12th save.
Veteran lefty Mark Buehrle was hit with the loss for Toronto despite a relatively strong outing. He pitched 7 1/3 innings and surrendered five hits with three runs and four batters fanned.
"(Buehrle's) track record is pretty special," said Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon. "Today, he elevated a few pitches, and we were able to take advantage."
Edwin Encarnacion got the Blue Jays on the board in the first inning thanks to a sacrifice fly that scored Josh Donaldson.
But a Kyle Seager solo home run in the second inning and a Willie Bloomquist two-run double in the third allowed the visitors to pull ahead. The scoring stopped in the fourth after a Chris Colabello solo homer for Toronto - his second in as many games.
Chris Taylor was the only Mariners player with a pair of hits in the game. Danny Valencia held that distinction for the Jays.