Facing five Blue Jays pitchers — highlighted by reliever turned starter Dan Biagini — stymied the Mariners’ offense in a 4-0 shutout at the Rogers Centre.
TORONTO — After scoring 21 runs in a pair of wins in Philadelphia, the Mariners mustered just two runs in two games in Toronto, which were predictably losses.
Five Blue Jays pitchers — highlighted by reliever-turned-starter Joe Biagini — stymied the Mariners’ offense in a 4-0 shutout at the Rogers Centre.
It was the third time this season Seattle had been shut out, but the first since April 18 against the Marlins. Seattle fell to 17-19 on the season.
Mariners @ Toronto, 10:07 a.m., ROOT Sports
“If you don’t score, you’re not going to win,” manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve got to get it back going offensively again.”
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Even a team that came into Friday night averaging 5.09 runs per game — second most in the American League — is susceptible to run-scoring droughts.
“As hot as we were in Philadelphia, we’ve been just as cold here in Toronto,” Servais said. “It happens. It goes back and forth a little bit. Give them credit, I thought Biagini threw the really ball well.”
The Mariners aren’t in a position to survive droughts or even league-average run production and still win games. With a starting rotation gutted by injuries and suspect middle-relief pitching, the Mariners will likely have to score at least five runs to win games.
It’s a difficult way to live, but that’s the reality the Mariners are in. They are reliant on the offense to make up for the limitations of the pitching staff. Unfortunately for the Mariners, they were missing a key cog in that offense.
Robinson Cano sat out a second straight game with tightness in his right quad.
The Mariners have good hitters besides Cano, but his absence is glaring. He has been hot over the past 10 games, and when Cano hits the Mariners’ offense is usually productive.
“There’s an effect in what he means to our team and on the field,” Servais said. “But that’s part of it. You have to keep playing. You have to keep grinding. Offensively, it happens some nights and we just didn’t get anything going.”
Biagini was forced into a starting role with the Blue Jays rotation also hit hard by injuries. He made his first career start five days earlier against the Rays, pitching four innings and allowing one run. He was even better Friday.
Biagini exited to a standing ovation after five shutout innings, giving up four hits and striking out three.
The Mariners had a chance to change the course of the game in the third inning. Down 1-0 with two outs and runners on second and third, Ben Gamel looped a soft fly to left that looked like it would drop in for a single. But Steve Pearce, who isn’t known for his defensive ability, came sprinting in and made a brilliant diving catch to end the inning.
“It was a 50-50 ball that could’ve gone either way,” Gamel said. “That ball lands and it’s all momentum. It hurts. But tomorrow is a new day.”
Relievers Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes and closer Robert Osuna worked the final four innings to keep the shutout intact.
Seattle starter Christian Bergman couldn’t duplicate the command and results from his solid relief outing against the Rangers on Sunday.
In his first start with the Mariners, Bergman pitched five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout.
There were runners in scoring position in each of his five innings, and the leadoff batter reached four times. Considering the traffic on the bases, it was an accomplishment he allowed only three runs.
“It’s tough when the leadoff guy is getting on every inning,” he said. “It was a difficult part of my night. I did the best I could to minimize the damage. But it was an uphill battle most of the night. The command was a little bit off.”
In the second inning, he allowed just one run despite singles from the first two batters. In the third inning, a misplaced 2-1 changeup allowed slumping Jose Bautista to reach out and pull a fly ball down the left-field line. It struck the foul pole for a two-run homer and a 3-0 Blue Jays lead.
“It wasn’t a great pitch,” Bergman said. “It caught too much of the plate. I still liked the pitch selection, but I just need to locate it better.”
The Blue Jays added a run off reliever Jean Machi, but it was unnecessary insurance with the Mariners unable to take advantage of runners in scoring position. Seattle was 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven base runners.
“We got a few hits,” Servais said. “But we couldn’t string anything together and obviously nothing with men in scoring position.”