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The Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays were tied in the AL wild card standings when they began this three-game set.

The Mariners have used their starting pitching to move ahead and can push Toronto further back if Hisashi Iwakuma continues to pitch like he has since the start of July.

Iwakuma has also pitched well against the Blue Jays as he looks to help Seattle complete a nine-game homestand with a sweep Wednesday night.

The starters employed by Seattle (64-55) in this series have yielded one run in each contest. Felix Hernandez gave up three hits in seven innings of Monday’s 11-1 rout and Chris Young allowed two in Tuesday’s 6-3 victory.

Mariners starters own an AL-best 3.27 ERA.

“Top to bottom the (Seattle) pitching staff – rotation and bullpen – is one of the best in baseball,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ”But we have got to score for our staff.”

Seattle has moved into a tie with plummeting Detroit for the AL’s second wild card, with Toronto (63-58) falling two games back.

”It’s awesome. It’s a whole new ballgame when it means something and you get in here and you’re pumped and you look and see what everyone else is doing and where you stand,” said left fielder Dustin Ackley, who has four RBIs in this series. ”It’s a lot more fun. Baseball is always fun but it makes it that much more enjoyable when you’re actually in it.”

The Mariners will like their chances of a sweep that would complete an 8-1 homestand if Iwakuma (10-6, 2.86 ERA) maintains the mound mastery that has seen him go 5-2 with a 2.04 ERA in eight outings since the start of July. He has lasted at least seven innings in seven straight, and owns a 1.66 ERA in the last three.

 

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