The Mariners (20-23) not only botched a shot at sweeping Toronto at Rogers Centre for the first time since May 11-13, 2001, they fell another game back (eight) of Houston in the AL West (Astros beat Detroit 10-8) Sunday by falling to the Blue Jays 8-2 (box score). Seattle starter Taijuan Walker breezed through four innings without ceding a hit, but unraveled in the fifth, gouged for four earned runs. Neither Walker’s offense nor his bullpen could bail him out.
Walker sailed through four before permitting a flare single to Kevin Pillar to open the fifth. Ryan Goins, he of three career long balls, followed with a two run homer. After Russell Martin doubled to center two hitters later, Edwin Encarnacion crushed a ball into the second deck in left as Toronto took a 4-1 lead.
Kyle Seager’s home run in the second inning, his seventh of the year, extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Hev also singled. Robinson Cano has Seattle’s longest streak at 11 games from April 13-25. Seager’s solo shot was Seattle’s 29th home run in May (third in AL) and 54th of the season. Forty-one of the 54 have been solos.
Chris Taylor, who had two hits Saturday for his first multi-hit game, had his second Sunday, going 2-for-3. Nelson Cruz went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and saw his five-game hitting streak snapped. The Mariners stranded five and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, Cano chipping in an 0-for-2. He was 0-for-4 overall and is hitting .247, 67 points below what he hit in 2014.
Over the three games at Rogers Centre, the Mariners went 2-for-17 with RISP.
Walker, who hasn’t won since April 27, has dropped three of his past five starts. He worked 5.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits. He fanned three and walked four among his 97 pitches. Walker has yielded 20 earned runs in his past five outings. . . Danny Farquhar’s ERA jumped to 6.46 after he coughed up three earned runs on three hits with 18 pitches in relief of Walker. The Blue Jays batted around in the seventh, scoring four times, including one run on a single by ex-Mariner Justin Smoak, and another on a bases-loaded walk by Seattle reliever Joe Beimel. Mark Lowe notched three strikeouts in 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
“I thought he was throwing a pretty good ball game. He competed well against a team that scores the most runs in the American League. But he just made a couple of mistakes and they cost him the ball game” — manager Lloyd McClendon, on the homers Walker surrendered.
The Mariners evened their record against the AL at 19-19. They are 3-3 on the nine-game road trip . . . Had the Mariners won, they would have recorded their third sweep of the year (swept Texas April 27-29 and Oakland May 8-10) . . . OF Austin Jackson, who hit .310 in seven rehab games in Tacoma following an ankle injury, could rejoin the Mariners as early as Monday.
The Mariners begin a three-game set at Tampa Bay Monday that will conclude their nine-game road trip. LHP Roenis Elias (1-1, 2.76) will start for Seattle opposite RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-4, 2.43). Elias has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any start.