Closer David Aardsma hasn't had a save opportunity in eight days, in part because the Seattle Mariners haven't been able to get a lead to him.
That could change tonight, since Felix Hernandez is starting, going for his 17th win - and he's one of the few Seattle pitchers who has shown the ability to get through seven or eight innings.
After the Tampa series, Mark Lowe, Shawn Kelley and Miguel Batista are unavailable tonight, which limits manager Don Wakamatsu's choice of setup men. He would love not to have to use one.
Felix will also have his catcher of choice, Rob Johnson, playing for the first time since spraining his ankle a week ago after a game against the New York Yankees.
"Felix has a comfort level with Rob, and with the year he's having, you don't want to break up what's working," Wakamatsu said.
It's Felix Herandez vs. Ricky Romero.More big numbers
Felix allowed a first-inning double to Aaron Hill but struck out the side - giving him 199 strike outs for the season.
Hernandez almost certainly will join Randy Johnson as the second pitcher in franchise history to win at least 15 games, post an earned run average under 3.00 and strike out at least 200 batters.
A Seattle rally
Mike Sweeney was hit by a pitch, Adrian Beltre singled up the middle and Bill Hall bounced a hit off the glove of third baseman Edwin Encarnacion.
That got Sweeney all the way to third.
Mat Tuiasosopo, starting at second base tonight, hit a long fly ball to get Sweeney home with the first run of the game.
In the second: Mariners 1, Blue Jays 0
That was quick
Lyle Overbay, a fine fellow, took a called third strike in the second inning and became strike out victim No. 200 on the season for Felix.That's his first 200-K season, but it's unlikely to be his last.
Mr. Gutierrez weighs in
Rob Johnson walked and, with one out, Franklin Gutierrez hit his 17th home run.
With two outs, Ken Griffey Jr. pinch-hit for Sweeney, who was hit by that pitch in the first. He left the game with a bruised left big toe.
In the third: Mariners 3, Blue Jays 0
More Felix, All Felix
Let's see. He's shattered four bats tonight, struck out seven and thrown just 63 pitches in five innings.
He hasn't resolved the health care reform crisis yet, but there's word he may flap his arms and fly back to the team hotel a little later.
After five: Mariners 3, Blue Jays 0
Aaron Hill got a ball through Beltre at third - it went between his legs but was initially ruled a double - and Adam Lind singled him to third base.
Vernon Wells, who'd struck out in his first two at-bats, hit his 15th home run to tie the game.
Hill's ball was later ruled a two-base error. Doubt that will make Felix feel any better. He's thrown 82 pitches in six innings.
After six: Mariners 3, Blue Jays 3
Let's try this again
Johnson walked with one out and Ichiro followed with the kind of hit that's made him famous. Ichiro hit a bouncing ball between first and second base, and once Overbay lunged and missed, all Ichiro had to do was beat pitcher Romero to the bag.
No contest. Ichiro was safe with his 215th hit of the season, Johnson moving up to second base.
Didn't matter. Gutierrez struck out, Lopez grounded out.
In the seventh: Mariners 3, Blue Jays 3
The 'Paper Boy' delivers
Josh-not-Jack Wilson has such a baby face that Sweeney dubbed him 'the paper boy' - and he delivered in the eighth inning.
Beltre singled and Hall walked with one out and with two outs, Wilson tripled over the head of right fielder Jose Bautista, scoring both runners.
That gives Felix the lead with six outs to get.
In the eighth: Mariners 5, Blue Jays 3
Hernandez allowed a double to Hill and a one out single to Wells that made it a one-run ball game.
Felix struck out Overbay to end the eighth and probably end his night at 108 pitches. It was his 11th strikeout of the night.
Aardsma is warming up.
In the ninth: Mariners 5, Blue Jays 4
And in the ninth
Seattle had the bases loaded with one out and, on the 12th pitch of his at-bat, Beltre grounded into a double play.
That brought on Aardsma, with the chance to match the fourth-highest save total in franchise history (36). He promptly walked Travis Snider.
Raul Chavez flied out. John McDonald flied out. Bautista struck out.
That's a save - and Seattle's 80th win of the season with nine games to play. It's also Felix's 17th, with two starts remaining.
It's a final: Mariners 5, Blue Jays 4