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August 7, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Bullpen, bats bail out struggling Harang

Humberto Quintero runs around the bases after his two-run homer in the fifth. Photo by Getty Images

Humberto Quintero runs around the bases after his two-run homer in the fifth. Photo by Getty Images

Things looked dim for the Mariners when they fell behind 7-2 in the third inning — the same lead they held last week when the Red Sox rallied in the ninth for that devastating win. This comeback was slower developing, but the Mariners used a six-run fifth to win 9-7 over Toronto. Five relievers — Brandon Maurer, Charlie Furbush, Yoervis Medina, Oliver Perez and Danny Farquhar — combined to hold the Blue Jays scoreless over the last seven innings.

“We’ve had that done to us in the past,’’ said acting manager Robby Thompson of their comeback.I’d like to think we kind of returned the favor today.

“I’m proud of the guys. They should be proud of themselves, offensively and in the bullpen.”

Offensively, the Mariners’ 11-hit attack was jump-started by struggling Nick Franklin, who broke out of a 0-for-27 slump in the first inning with a run-scoring triple. Justin Smoak did some rare damage from the right side with a game-tying two-run double in the big fifth. The inning was capped by catcher Humberto Quintero’s two-run home run.

Franklin decided on a whim Tuesday night to shave off his beard.

“I just randomly decided I was going to come out a new person today,’’ he said.

In his first at-bat on Wednesday, the clean-shaven Franklin lashed a triple to the gap in right-center to end the hitless stretch. He drove in Brad Miller, who had singled, and then scored himself on Kyle Seager’s ground out.

“It wasn’t really relief, but it was just nice to get started in the first inning, get going and get on top,’’ Franklin said. “I think more than anything, it was only the first inning, so I had three or more at-bats or more to worry about and adjust.”

In subsequent at-bats, Franklin walked, reached on an error and scored, flied out and struck out.

“I can’t get upset,’’ he said of his slump. “You know it’s going to happen. You know eventually it’s going to work itself out.’’

Acting manager Robby Thompson had tried to give Franklin a mental break by keeping him out of the lineup for two days in a row, Sunday and Monday.

“Honestly, the two days just made me itch back at it, more than anything,’’ he said. “Those two days, I got to do some work and figure some things out.”

The Mariners continue to get production from their makeshift catching duo in the absence of injured rookie Mike Zunino. Quintero broke a 7-7 tie with a two-run homer off lefty Aaron Loup in the fifth. In six games since joining the Mariners, Quintero is hitting .381 (8-for-21) with two homers and four runs batted in. Henry Blanco has two homers and seven RBI.

“Both of those guys have gotten some big hits for us, and big home runs,’’ Thompson said. “They’re both veteran guys who know their roles. Coming in, we sat down with Humberto and told him he’d probably get more of the catching time and  to always be ready and prepared with the pitchers and the game plan. They’ve both been doing an outstanding job with that.”

Quintero said more regular playing time has helped him stay sharp.

“In Philadelphia, I didn’t play much,’’ he said. “Here, I’m plying three or four times a week, and it helps me be more consistent.”

Asked if Harang, whose earned-run average rose to 5.79, would remain in the rotation, Thompson said, “I can’t answer that right now. As far as I’m concerned, yeah, he’s in the rotation. He did have a couple of bad outings. He’ll get in the bullpen and work on some things. He’s not someone that normally walks guys. Hopefully, he’ll get back in the zone more consistently.”

That’s a topic to revisit on Friday, when the Mariners return after an off-day.

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