The Blue Jays won, 10-2, behind former Mariner Brandon Morrow's eight innings of three-hit pitching.
TORONTO — The Mariners lost the game but won the series, a trade-off they’ll gladly accept most times.
“We’re in the business of trying to win series, so we won our series here and we’ve got to be ready to go to work on Tuesday in Pittsburgh,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said after Sunday’s 10-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The struggling Blue Jays avoided being swept in the three-game series at Rogers Centre thanks to eight innings of three-hit pitching by former Mariner Brandon Morrow (1-2) before a crowd of 22,937.
“He located pretty well and he mixed it up well on us,” said Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, who had a double and a sacrifice fly. “When you’ve got that many pitches with that kind of stuff, it’s a tough day.”
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It was the third consecutive series win for the Mariners (15-18), who were 0-5-2 in their first seven series and have won seven of their past 10 games.
“We feel good about ourselves as a team,” Seager said. “Obviously today was a tough one, but we won the two before to take the series and that is definitely a good thing. We have a lot of confidence.”
The Mariners have an off day on Monday before visiting the Pittsburgh Pirates for two games.
Left-hander Joe Saunders (2-4) pitched five innings to take the loss, allowing seven runs and nine hits, including home runs by Melky Cabrera with none on and Mark DeRosa with two on.
“He threw the ball well last time (a complete-game win over the Baltimore Orioles); I wanted to give him every opportunity to work through it today,” Wedge said. “He was right around the plate, he was just missing and then he had to come in a little bit. It ended up being a tough day for him.”
Added Saunders: “It was a battle today for sure. They put some good swings and on some good pitches — just one of those days. They’ve got some really good hitters so you’ve got to make pitches, and I thought I did that today pretty good. I just didn’t get the breaks.”
He allowed a run in the first inning on Jose Bautista’s sacrifice fly to second baseman Dustin Ackley, who battled the sun, a problem for both teams.
“I’ve faced him quite a bit in his career in different stops and he’s the consummate pro,” DeRosa said of Saunders. “He’s a guy who pounds the outside part of the plate with a good two-seamer and great changeup and occasional curveball. Today it seemed like he was struggling to get that corner pitch called.”
Saunders, who dropped to 0-4 on the road for the first time in his career, sees the team building confidence with their recent success.
“You’re not going to win every game, obviously,” he said. “You have days like this but it’s how you bounce back, and I think totally as a staff and as position players we bounce back pretty good. So we just have to keep going.
“Today we didn’t really do the little things, the dropped pop-ups, the weird things like the sacrifice fly to second base. Just one of those weird days, so our goal is to turn the page quickly and get them Tuesday.”
The Blue Jays took a 3-0 lead but the Mariners got two back in the fifth when Morrow allowed four walks and an infield hit.
“I just got a little too loose in my mechanics, but I cleaned it up and was good the rest of the time,” Morrow said.
“They took advantage of some opportunities and their guy threw a real good ballgame,” Wedge said. “The one inning in particular really gave us an opportunity, but we didn’t take advantage of it. But other than that he was really good. He did a good job with his fastball and his secondary stuff really played up as the game wore on.”
The Blue Jays answered in the home fifth with four runs on two homers, and the Mariners were on the way to having their three-game winning streak snapped.
|The Mariners have won their past three series. A look at how the season has gone thus far:|
|at Oakland||T, 2-2||After 2-0 start, M’s can’t sustain momentum|
|at Chicago White Sox||L, 2-1||Felix Hernandez suffers first loss in rubber match|
|vs. Houston||L, 2-1||M’s embarrassed by bad Astros squad|
|vs. Texas||T, 2-2||Rookie pitcher Maurer saves series tie|
|vs. Detroit||L, 2-1||M’s able to topple Tigers ace Verlander|
|at Texas||L, 3-0||A low point: M’s outscored 23-3 in sweep|
|at Houston||L, 2-1||Again trouble with the lowly Astros|
|vs. L.A. Angels||W, 3-1||First 4-game series win vs. Halos since 2003|
|vs. Baltimore||W, 2-1||Aaron Harang shines in rubber match|
|at Toronto||W, 2-1||Hisashi Iwakuma is 3-1 this season|