Brendan Ryan's frustration just a part of the Mariners' 7-0 defeat at Toronto
Seattle scores 30 runs in first four games of trip before ex-Mariner Morrow shuts them down.
Seattle Times staff reporter
M's offense goes cold30
The Mariners scored 30 runs in the first four games of this 10-game road trip to help erase memories of a dismal homestand in which they were shut out twice.
Saturday, there were no runs to come by
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 an 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, an 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."
While not satisfied by the result, the 37-year-old said it was still an improvement over his last couple of outings. He'd given up five runs over 5-1/3 innings his last time out against the White Sox and had helped blow an 8-1 lead to the Indians before that by yielding six runs over four-plus frames.
The difference this time was nothing he did was really going to matter. Seattle had scored 30 times in winning the first four contests in this 10-game road trip, but got tied in knots by Morrow this time.
Morrow had been hot and cold to start the season, allowing seven home runs in his first four outings while notching no more than four strikeouts in any. While saying he derived no real motivation from facing the Mariners — who dealt him to Toronto for Brandon League and minor-leaguer Johermyn Chavez after the 2009 season — he admitted he needed a victory like this for his confidence level more than anything.
"When you get in a rut like that you need something to spark you," Morrow said. "Also, I hadn't pitched well at home this year and didn't pitch well at home last year. I needed to get it going here at the Rogers Centre, too."
Mariners manager Eric Wedge noted his team did chase Morrow after six innings by making him throw 104 pitches. Wedge said this was a sign that his hitters continue to battle through better at-bats than they'd been having earlier this season.
"We just didn't get anything going today," Wedge said.
Among the bigger at-bat battlers of late has been Ryan. Wedge insisted that he likes the more disciplined batting practice-sessions Ryan keeps having and sees it carrying over into his at-bats.
Eventually, he added, Ryan should see it carry over to the results column. Ryan said he saw pitches he liked, but kept fouling them off and then got put away by Morrow's slider.
"The slider he throws is 89, 90 mph," Ryan said. "That's one of the harder sliders you're going to see and when he throws it where he wants to, he's going to get the results that he wants. That's what you saw with a lot of the right-handed strikeouts you saw today."