The Mariners had a lot to point to entering’s Sunday’s game in Toronto, including opportunities to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games, sweep their first series, and pull within a game of .500. But lefty Joe Saunders made sure none of that happened with another dismal road outing in Seattle’s 10-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
Saunders entered with a 0-3, 12.51 mark on the road. After allowing Toronto to manufacture three early runs, he caved in the fifth when he yielded two home runs, a single and a walk. Saunders has allowed 16 earned runs in four road starts vs. two earned runs allowed at Safeco Field.
The Blue Jays had been anemic at the plate before feasting on Saunders, having scored just three runs in their previous four games. In the first two games of the series, the Mariners (15-18) outscored the Jays 12-1. The loss was only the third in the past 10 games.
Seattle couldn’t do a thing against Brandon Morrow, the former Mariner No. 1 draft pick who improved to 4-1 in his career against them. Morrow allowed just three hits — all spread out — in his eight innings and struck out eight. Through the first seven, Seattle scratched out just two hits.
Morrow gave the Mariners some chances by walking five, but Seattle went just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded six.
Morrow had nearly all the offense he needed from Melky Cabrera, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.
After the Blue Jays worked Saunders for three runs in the first two innings on a sacrifice fly by Jose Bautista, a run-scoring single by Maicer Izturis and a fielder’s choice, the Mariners pulled within 3-2 in the fifth when Robert Andino hit into a fielder’s choice that scored a run. The second came on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Seager.
But the Blue Jays raked Saunders in the bottom of the inning for four runs, the two big blows home runs by Cabrera and Mark DeRosa.
Manager Eric Wedge jerked Saunders after seven earned runs on nine hits. Saunders walked two and didn’t strike out a batter.
Once the Blue Jays finished with Saunders, they began punching Hector Noesi’s ticket back to the Pacific Coast League, adding three more earned runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Mariners have a rare day off Monday and will start a two-game series at Pittsburgh Tuesday. RHP Aaron Harang will face RHP James McDonald. The Mariners have not faced the Pirates since 2007.