It was already a bad day Saturday for the Mariners when just-promoted Ryan Weber suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth inning and became the rotation’s latest casualty.
Then it got worse just when it seemed to be getting better.
The Mariners broke a 21-inning scoreless streak with single runs in fifth and sixth innings and had a one-run lead over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Then Tony Zych, who hadn’t given up a homer since Lloyd McClendon wore teal, gave up a game-tying homer in the sixth inning to old friend Kendrys Morales.
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Then Nick Vincent, who was on a roll of 12 straight scoreless appearances, teed up a fastball, a cutter and a fastball to three successive Toronto hitters in the seventh inning.
As Vincent later acknowledged: "I’ve got to live on the edge. If I live over the middle, I’m not going to do well."
Kevin Pillar singled. Ezequiel Carrera singled. And Jose Bautista rocked a 430-foot bomb for a three-run homer.
Add two more Toronto runs in the eighth inning, courtesy of defensive breakdowns, and the Mariners limped out of the Rogers Centre with a 7-2 loss.
That makes three losses in a row since the Mariners clawed their way back to .500 by winning six out of seven. They need a victory Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep in Canada.
Three takeaways from Saturday’s loss:
***Another man down: The Mariners could be approaching the breaking point regarding the mounting injuries in their rotation. For the most part, up to now, they’ve shown a willingness to try to roll with the punches.
But Saturday brought a double-whammy. First, they learned veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is going to miss four-to-six weeks because of shoulder inflammation.
Even manager Scott Servais acknowledged he "wasn’t expecting it to be that long." It’s a good bet the news similarly caught others in the organization by surprise.
Then Weber grabbed his arm after 3 2/3 innings. There’s no word yet on the severity of what is initially being characterized as "tightness," but it’s typically bad news when a pitcher grabs his arm and leaves the mound.
The Mariners have used nine starters through 37 games. Four members of their projected five-man rotation are currently on the disabled list with only James Paxton viewed as likely to return before June.
Even the players seem dazed when discussing the situation. As Vincent noted: "You don’t expect it to be this bad."
***An absent Cano: It isn’t just the rotation, Second baseman Robinson Cano missed his third straight game Saturday because of a strained right quadriceps muscle and seems unlikely to start Sunday’s series finale.
An opposing scout said Saturday: "Everything in their lineup revolves around Cano. Even when he’s not hitting, you worry about him, and that helps everyone else. And when he is hitting, he really helps everyone else."
Cano batted. .349 with seven homers and 20 RBIs in the 21 games prior to his injury. His surge coincided with the Mariners overcoming a 2-8 start and climbing back to .500.
***Welcome back, Dyce: Center fielder Jarrod Dyson had, perhaps, his best game of the season in Saturday’s loss. He went 2-for-2 with two walks and stole his 10th base (in 12 attempts). He also showed remarkable range in the outfield.
"I think you saw the difference he can make out there," Servais said. "The ground he covered was pretty amazing."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners