First the good news: the Seattle Mariners have scored five or more runs in back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month.
Now the bad news: the offensive outburst hasn’t been enough to halt Seattle’s lengthy losing streak.
Travis Snider hit a three-run homer, Brandon Morrow won his fifth straight decision and the host Toronto Blue Jays beat the Mariners 11-6 on Wednesday night, extending Seattle’s slide to 11 games.
“We’re starting to swing the bats a little better the last couple of nights but we’re getting sloppy in other areas,” manager Eric Wedge said. “That just can’t happen.”
Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion also homered for the Blue Jays, who have won seven of nine.
Snider went 2 for 4 with five RBIs, matching his career high. Encarnacion was 3 for 5, scored four runs and stole two bases.
The losing streak is Seattle’s longest since a 12-game skid in 2008. The Mariners have lost 15 of their past 20 overall.
“Frustration is really mounting,” shortstop Brendan Ryan said.
Catcher Josh Bard agreed, and said the time for change is drawing near.
“Somebody’s got to step up and do something about it because I know we’re not satisfied with this, I know Eric’s not satisfied with this, the staff, (GM) Jack (Zduriencik), everybody. This is not OK, and nobody thinks that. When it’s not OK, you’ve got to do something different.”
Dustin Ackley hit a two-run homer, his fourth, and Adam Kennedy added a solo drive, his seventh, but Seattle still fell short.
The last time the Mariners scored five or more in consecutive games was June 2 and 3, when they won two straight against Tampa Bay.
It wasn’t all good news for Seattle’s bats. The Mariners loaded the bases with nobody out in the first but failed to score.
“You come out of the chute and you’ve got the bases loaded and nobody out and you end up with nothing to show for it,” Wedge said. “That’s an emotional turn, right from the start.”
Morrow (7-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings. The right-hander, who walked three and struck out seven, has not lost since June 11 against Boston.
Morrow said he felt fortunate to escape the first unscathed.
“It’s like dodging a bullet,” he said. “You feel like you’ve given yourself a chance to keep going. You don’t want to put yourself in that hole. Just keep it at zeroes at that point.”
Frank Francisco gave up a solo homer to Kennedy in the eighth and Octavio Dotel surrendered Ackley’s two-run shot in the ninth.
The Blue Jays jumped on left-hander Jason Vargas (6-8) with a four-run second, sending 10 men to the plate. Snider hit a sacrifice fly, Yunel Escobar drew a bases-loaded walk and Eric Thames followed with a two-run double down the left field line.
Vargas walked four in the inning, one intentional, and both he and Wedge said they felt squeezed by home plate umpire Lance Barrett.
“I didn’t feel like I was missing,” Vargas said. “I don’t know. We’re all watching the same game. I got put in a pretty tough spot.”
Snider made it 5-0 with an RBI single in the third, but the Blue Jays left runners at the corners when Franklin Gutierrez made a fine running catch on Escobar’s drive to right center.
Bard got the Mariners on the board with a two-run double in the fourth, but Toronto answered in the bottom half when Snider bashed a three-run shot to center off reliever Jamey Wright for his third homer of the season.
Vargas lost his third straight start and matched a season low by working just three innings, allowing five runs and six hits. He walked five, one intentional, and struck out none.
Encarnacion led off the sixth with a drive off Aaron Laffey that hit the center field restaurant, his seventh.
Two outs later, Rajai Davis doubled on a ball that bounced over the head of Ichiro Suzuki, moved to third on Jose Molina’s single and scored on a base hit by John McDonald.
Back-to-back doubles by Brendan Ryan and Ackley gave Seattle a run in the seventh, but Toronto tacked on one more in the bottom half when Lind drilled a solo homer to right center, his 18th.
Escobar left after five innings and was replaced at shortstop by McDonald. Manager John Farrell said the move was simply to get Escobar extra rest before Thursday’s day game.