TORONTO – This wasn’t going to be the day for Brendan Ryan to turn his battling at-bats into any results on the hits ledger.
Throughout their recent streak of road success, the Mariners had seen most of their regulars begin to raise their offensive numbers while Ryan’s have continued to free fall. But nobody with the Mariners was hitting much of anything in a 7-0 defeat against Brandon Morrow and the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday that saw Ryan strike out during the last real shot Seattle had to get back in the game.
Afterward, Ryan sat mostly alone for several minutes in the clubhouse, staring into his locker while his teammates showered, ate in an adjacent room or sought treatment from trainers. He said he’s working to right himself and a batting average that’s tumbled to .143 during a 0-for-18 stretch at the plate.
“I’m competing in every single at-bat,” he said. “I want the challenge every single time. But when I get the pitch I should hit hard, it’s back into the net. It’s incredibly frustrating because now it’s a 1-2 count, a 0-2 count. And at this level, if you do that over and over, the percentages are not in your favor. Put it that way.”
The percentages weren’t in Seattle’s favor once Morrow began dealing as he had last summer in his previous time out against his former Mariners team. Morrow rang up nine of the 13 strikeouts by Seattle hitters and improved his record against the Mariners to 3-0 with a 1.89 earned-run average and 28 strikeouts over 19 innings.
A crowd of 30,765 at Rogers Centre watched the Blue Jays snap a four-game losing streak while ending Seattle’s winning stretch at the same number. Ryan had two of his team’s strikeouts, the biggest coming with runners at the corners and one out in the fifth inning of a 3-0 game.
Chone Figgins grounded out after that and it was pretty much over with from there.
Kevin Millwood battled through seven innings, allowing three runs – just one earned after a Kyle Seager error at third base. Hisashi Iwakuma had the roof cave in on him in the eighth, yielding a leadoff single, a double, an intentional walk and then a grand slam to right field by Edwin Encarnacion.
The only real scoring up to that point came when Millwood yielded back-to-back singles with one out in the third, followed by Seager booting a hard grounder by Jose Bautista.
One run scored on that play and then a ground-rule double to right by Adam Lind brought the second run home.
A sacrifice fly by Encarnacion gave Toronto its third run and Millwood his only real headache of the day.
“Just that one inning kind of got away a little bit,” Millwood said.
“But I was still able to keep us in the ballgame by getting deep into the game.”