TORONTO -- For Mariners rookie right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, the long wait was worth it as he picked up his first Major League victory on Tuesday with a strong seven-inning outing in a 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays.
Ramirez, 22, allowed just two runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts in his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma at the start of September.
The 5-foot-10-inch Nicaragua native opened the season in Seattle's bullpen and started four games in June before running into elbow problems and winding up back in Tacoma. But he has been one of the Mariners' well-regarded young prospects and showed why Tuesday in snapping Toronto's four-game winning streak.
"I was so happy when the last out came," a beaming Ramirez said after celebrating with his teammates. "I just thought, 'Are you serious? I got my first win in the big leagues.' I've been working for that since I got here.
"They gave me a chance to be in the rotation and I was going out there every time to win, but it just didn't happen. Now, finally, almost at the end of the season, I get my first win, and I'm happy. It took awhile, but sometimes the best things take time. You have to wait and just be patient."
Most starting pitchers head to the clubhouse to ice down and relax when their work is done, but Ramirez sweated out the final two innings with his team in the dugout. From there, he watched four relievers work through a one-run eighth inning before closer Tom Wilhelmsen got his 25th save by retiring the final batter with a runner on second.
"I stayed on the field," he said. "I want to enjoy my first win, so I watched the last six outs and just watched the relievers do their work. I wanted to give high fives to everyone because everyone did the work, not just me. It's a team and everybody did something in this game."
Ramirez got some offensive support from a Mariners club that scored just 18 runs in their previous nine games, with third baseman Kyle Seager leading the way with a 3-for-5 day with a home run, double and two RBIs.
Seager raised his team-leading totals to 18 home runs and 81 RBIs as the Mariners improved to 68-74 and surpassed last year's victory total of 67 with 20 games remaining.
Seattle racked up 14 hits, including 11 in 4 2/3 innings against Toronto starter Brandon Morrow, who had been 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three prior starts against his former team.
"He wasn't as powerful, wasn't as sharp," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell of Morrow. "It was a little bit more difficult for him tonight to command the bottom of the strike zone. Early on, there were some fastballs that were up over the plate, and they did a good job going the other way with them."
The Mariners got to Morrow for a pair of runs in the first and might have had more after combining for four hits and a walk, but John Jaso was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Rajai Davis for the second out trying to score from second on a bases-loaded single by Michael Saunders.
Jaso again was thrown out by Davis in the third, trying to go first-to-third on a single by Jesus Montero for the second out of that frame, as well.
"It's a fine line right there," said manager Eric Wedge. "The play is right in front of him. It was probably a little too aggressive with their pitcher struggling right there. But having said that, you've got the left fielder going toward center. He played a great defensive game out there for them tonight. He still has to right himself and throw a strike to get him.
"It's hard to get on a guy when he's being aggressive like that and trying to get to third base with one out. I don't mind that type of aggressiveness."
The Blue Jays returned the favor in the bottom of the first when Ramirez gave up three singles before Adam Lind was gunned down by Franklin Gutierrez trying to go first-to-third on the final hit by Yunel Escobar.
Gutierrez did commit his first error in 302 games in the seventh inning, missing a fly ball by Kelly Johnson. The two-base misplay snapped Gutierrez's American League record of 846 consecutive outfield chances without an error.
"I have no excuses for that play," said Gutierrez. "I was running on my heels and when you do that, your head moves. I still need to make that catch. It just happened."
"He's human," said Wedge. "He's been on an unbelievable stretch. He's one of the best center fielders in the game, if not the best. It's just one of those things that happen, and for him about once every three years, I guess."
Ramirez, who had retired nine straight before that leadoff error, made that mistake moot by getting out of the seventh without damage before Wedge went to his bullpen with the youngster at 90 pitches.
"He bowed his neck and turned it up a notch there," Wedge said. "But there was a lot of emotion there and we felt that was enough for him, his first start back and the way he had to leave that runner out there. He just did a great job."