It’s like this these days for the Mariners: If they don’t hit, they don’t win. Their rotation is in tatters strewn across the disabled list, and their ever-changing bullpen mix seems to be redlining almost every night.
They didn’t hit Friday night in a 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre after slumbering through much of Thursday’s 7-2 loss in the series opener.
"As hot as we were with the bat in Philadelphia," manager Scott Servais said, "we were just as cold here in Toronto. It happens. It goes back and forth a little bit."
The lineup’s sudden Canadian chill isn’t solely due to Robinson Cano being unavailable the last two nights because of a strained right quadriceps muscle. But Cano’s absence sure didn’t help.
Never miss a local story.
"There’s an effect to what he means to our team and on the field," Servais said. "That’s part of it. You’ve got to keep playing. You’ve got to keep grinding."
Right-hander Christian Bergman met the bar of providing five competitive innings. Pressed into duty because of injuries in the rotation, he gave up three runs before the Mariners went to their bullpen in the sixth inning.
That probably gains him at least one more turn.
"I just had to minimize (damage) as much as I could," he said, "with guys running around all over the play. The leadoff guy was on every inning.
"That makes things more difficult, but you do what you can to try to keep the team in the game."
Bergman (0-1) skirted trouble in the first two innings, when he limited the damage to one run, but surrendered a two-run homer in the third to Jose Bautista.
The ball hooked down the left-field line but caught the mesh attached to the foul pole.
"That one pitch was, obviously, a heartbreaker," Bergman said. "It just caught a little too much of the plate, and he did what he gets paid to do with it."
The Mariners, meanwhile, managed little through five innings against Joe Biagini, a reliever pressed into starting duty for a second time because of injuries in the Toronto rotation.
"He had pretty good command of his fastball," right fielder Ben Gamel said, "and he was putting it in and out. And he spun that curveball for a strike."
Biagini (1-1) handed a 3-0 lead to reliever Aaron Loup after yielding a leadoff single to Jean Segura in the sixth inning. Loup and Danny Barnes finished the inning with no damage.
Ryan Tepera and Robert Osuna completed the shutout.
The loss dropped the Mariners to two games under .500 at 17-19 with two games remaining this weekend at the Rogers Centre and probably 10 days or so before they starting regaining pieces of their rotation.
The Blue Jays opened the second inning with singles by Steve Pearce and Ryan Goins — then played for one run when Darwin Barney put down a sacrifice bunt. Two ground-outs produced that one run and a 1-0 lead.
The Mariners missed a chance to counter after putting runners at second and third with one out in the third inning. Taylor Motter started home on Segura’s grounder to third, then held up even as Barney threw to first.
"If the ball is hard at third baseman," Servais said, "you don’t want to run into a stupid out. But it wasn’t hit right at him. It’s a tough read."
Left fielder Steve Pearce then made a diving catch on Gamel’s sinking liner, which saved two runs. The Mariners put two runners on base in the sixth and seventh innings, but the third was their best chance.
"It was a 50-50 ball," Gamel shrugged. "It could have gone either way."
Toronto then pushed the lead to 3-0 later in the inning on Bautista’s two-run bomb. The Jays added an unearned run, aided by a passed ball on catcher Chooch Ruiz, against reliever Jean Machi in the sixth.
PLAY(S) OF THE GAME: Toronto first baseman Justin Smoak took extra bases away from Gamel by reaching across his body to snatch a hard liner that appeared headed for the right-field corner.
Gamel got robbed again in the third inning when Pearce made a diving two-out catch with runners at second and third.
"That’s baseball for you," Gamel said. "You just try to hit them where they’re not."
PLUS: Segura extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a leadoff single in the sixth inning…Motter started at second base in place of Cano and went 2-for-4…Machi gave up one unearned run in 2 1/3 innings, which lowered his ERA to 1.17 in five appearances since his May 2 promotion from Triple-A Tacoma. But his extended outing could make him vulnerable Saturday when the Mariners make a roster move to add a pitcher.
MINUS: Ruiz had his second passed ball of the season, and it cost the Mariners a run in the sixth inning…Ruiz was also hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts, which dropped his average to .118…the Mariners were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
STAT PACK: The Mariners are on a 17-inning scoreless streak in Toronto since Nelson Cruz’s two-run homer in the first inning of Thursday’s 7-2 loss.
QUOTABLE: "We had a chance there in the third," Servais said, "and didn’t really cash in. Pearce made a heck of play on the soft bloop into left field that could have really changed the momentum of the game."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners