The Jays had their ace on the hill on Tuesday in lefty Ricky Romero, but he wasn’t as sharp as his first two outings when in starts against Minnesota and Oakland, he allowed just one earned run in each.
He blew by that total in the third inning when the Mariners bunched three hits to put up three runs on the board.
Brendan Ryan opened the inning with a single and No. 9 hitter Ryan Langerhans followed by nailing the first pitch into the seats in right for his third home run of the season.
It was also the first homer given up by Romero this campaign.
The Mariners weren’t done as one out later, Jays third baseman Jayson Nix airmailed a throw to first, one that only Edwin Encarnacion could truly appreciate, on a Jack Wilson grounder.
Wilson promptly stole third when Romero didn’t check the runner and came home on Milton Bradley’s single to right.
Romero settled down after that, retiring 12 batters in order before walking the leadoff batter in the eighth.
But seven superb innings coupled with one mediocre frame didn’t cut it this night.
Following their gutting 8-7 loss on Monday, one in which the bullpen blew a 7-0 lead, it was interesting to see how the Jays would respond.
For the opening seven innings there was little response at all against hard throwing right-hander Michael Pineda, who brings the heat with a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s.
But in the eighth with runners on second and third and one out, Corey Patterson ripped a double to right to plate both runners.
Then came the most interesting play of the game, as following Jose Bautista’s pop out up the first base line in foul territory, Patterson attempted to score. But first baseman Justin Smoak made an on-the-money throw and Patterson was a dead duck.
The Mariners are not a gifted team offensively. In fact they might have the worst offence in the American League.
But on a day when the Jays needed a lift to wash out the bitter taste left by Monday’s loss, neither Romero nor the offence were quite up to the job.
The result is a four-game losing streak and a 1-4 record on a road trip that includes four games in Boston following Wednesday’s matinee.
Who knows, maybe the worst is yet to come.
Prior to the game, the Jays designated reliever David Purcey for assignment and recalled both RHP Casey Janssen and LHP Brad Mills from triple-A Las Vegas. They also placed CF Rajai Davis on the disabled list retroactive to April 11. Initially the Jays were going to bring INF Mike McCoy back but opted to go with an additional reliever.
The Jays backup outfielder will be Jayson Nix, who is an infielder by trade. If something happens to CF Corey Patterson during a game, Travis Snider will take over that position. The Jays are left with 13 pitchers, eight of them relievers, and a bench that has just Nix, John McDonald and Jose Molina. Why the extra pitcher?
“John (Farrell) and I talked about it and it was just a matter of trying to protect out ‘pen,” GM Alex Anthopoulos said. “Going into that series in Boston (the Jays open a four-game set on Friday), you know it’s going to be a grind and three of our starters haven’t necessarily gone deep into games (Brett Cecil, Jo-Jo Reyes and Jesse Litsch). It’s more to protect ourselves, protect our bullpen.”