Speaking for the Mariners…Uncle!
Right-hander Ryan Weber didn’t even make it through four innings Saturday before succumbing to whatever voodoo hex is tormenting the Mariners’ rotation.
It wasn’t a great day for the bullpen either.
Jose Bautista crushed a three-run, tie-breaking homer in the seventh inning against Nick Vincent that carried Toronto to a 7-2 victory over the Mariners at the Rogers Centre.
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Crushed as in 430 feet to the left of dead center field.
"Fastball middle," Vincent said. "A good hitter is going to hit that pitch. Just not a quality pitch in that situation. It was supposed to be a fastball away. I was getting ahead of myself and just rushing it.
"It went right over the middle."
And then deep over the wall.
It was 2-2 when Vincent (1-1) entered the game with a 1.62 ERA and a streak of 12 scoreless appearances covering 13 innings.
"Vincent’s been throwing the ball great," manager Scott Servais said. "He’s probably been one of our consistent guys. He just got a couple of balls up in the middle of the zone.
"Against Bautista, wrong place, wrong time."
Bautista’s bomb came after Tony Zych squandered a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning by yielding a 427-foot homer to two-time former Mariner Kendrys Morales.
"I just didn’t get it down," Zych said. "I was trying to go sinker away, and it stayed up. He’s a really good hitter. You saw what happened. Not a good pitch."
Zych had not allowed a homer in his last 32 appearances dating to Sept. 6, 2015. Some sloppy defense in the eighth inning enabled the Jays to score two unearned runs against James Pazos.
Bottom line: The Mariners lost their third straight game and lost another starting pitcher. They need a victory Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.
The Mariners summoned Weber early Saturday from Triple-A Tacoma as the latest replacement part in an injury-depleted rotation, but he left the game in the fourth inning because of tightness in his shoulder.
Weber was pitching well at that point: one run and three hits in 3 2/3 innings. He grabbed his biceps after delivering a 1-1 changeup to Ryan Goins.
Second baseman Taylor Motter first noticed the problem and ran to the mound. Servais and others soon arrived from the dugout and, after a short discussion, Weber left the game.
"He felt something in his shoulder," Servais said. "It was kind of weird. Something he hadn’t dealt with before. Anytime a pitcher grabs his arm, especially with what’s been going on with us, you get him out of there."
Lefty Dillon Overton replaced Weber. Overton had been a candidate to start Saturday before the Mariners promoted Weber from the Rainiers after clearing roster space by designating reliever Jean Machi for assignment.
Overton finished the fourth inning and worked a scoreless fifth before the Mariners turned to their short relievers.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Heredia reached into the stands in foul territory to catch a deep fly by Luke Maile for the first out in the Toronto seventh inning. Everything fell apart after that. Two singles and Bautista’s homer.
PLUS: The Mariners had 12 hits, including at least one from seven of their nine starters…Jean Segura went 2-for-5 and raised his league-leading average to .366…Jarrod Dyson went 2-for-2 with two walks. He also stole his 10th base in 12 attempts.
MINUS: Weber left the clubhouse prior to the end of the game in order to be examined by a local doctor. The Mariners are already bracing for another roster move prior to Sunday’s series finale…the Mariners were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position…catcher Tuffy Gosewisch was 0-for-2, which dropped his average to .067 (1-for-15)…Kyle Seager was 0-for-5 with three strikeout. One strikeout came with the score tied 2-2 with one out in the seventh inning when the Mariners had runners at second and third.
STAT PACK: Weber was the ninth different starting pitcher used this season by the Mariners in 37 games. They used 13 starters last season. Only twice before in their previous 40 years did they use nine or more starters in their first 40 games: nine in 1995, and 10 in their inaugural 1977 season.
QUOTABLE: Zych on the bullpen’s reaction to seeing Weber grab his arm in the fourth inning: "Whenever that happens, you never want to see it. This year with how many and how often, it’s not a good feeling for anybody.
"Obviously, we’re in scramble mode. We don’t know what’s going to happen. You just have to do what you can do when called upon."
SHORT HOPS: The Mariners had not scored in 21 innings when they erased a 1-0 deficit against Toronto starter Marcus Stroman on Ben Gamel’s two-out double in the fifth inning…ex-Mariners reliever Dominic Leone stranded inherited runners at second and third in the seventh inning by retiring Danny Valencia on a grounder to third. Leone (1-0) got the victory.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners