TORONTO - The Blue Jays were a strike away from winning.
All they needed was a strike from third baseman Brett Lawrie.
Lawrie bounced his throw to in the dirt on Kyle Seager’s grounder, first baseman Adam Lind tried to scoop the ball, it wound up on the mound giving the Seattle Mariners had another life.
Brendan Ryan dumped a single to centre off Francisco Cordero tying the score and Michael Saunders hit a grand slam in the 10th facing Luis Perez for a 9-5 win Friday night before 24,303 fans at the Rogers Centre.
“Cordero did his job,” Lawrie told reporters. “The game should have been over an inning ago, we should have been out celebrating the win. That’s a play I work on every day.
“You can’t give teams a chance to get back in it. I take full responsibility. We gave that one away. It’s a loss we’re taking pretty hard.”
The fourth-place Jays have now dropped four straight.
Finally away from the beasts of the east, the Baltimore Orioles, the Jays scored a five runs. That outburst does not match the 1927 East York Yankees, but it equalled the Jays total going back 30 innings to the sixth of Monday’s win in Kansas City.
And it wasn’t enough.
Jays relievers have allowed seven home runs and blown five saves.
With two unearned runs this was not the bullpen’s fault as the Jays lost their fourth straight.
Bouncy turf: A ball kicked off Lawrie’s mitt with two out in the third and Saunders on third. Yunel Escobar fielded the ball and fired to first in attempt to get Ryan ... First base ump Manny Gonzalez called it safe and suddenly the Rogers Centre turf was like a trampoline. Escobar was bouncing up and down in angst. Starter Romero was bouncing up and down. Adam Lind was bouncing although from a distance his vertical leap looked to be about 1 1/8 inches. And John Farrell bounced out of the dugout to argue with Gonzalez. Replays showed Gonzalez had it right ... The Jays shouldn’t blame Gonzalez for the game being tied. Romero threw eight straight balls to open the inning, the Jays failed to turn a routine comebacker into a 1-6-3 double play and Lawrie failed to field a ball ... The M’s line: one run on zero hits and one error.
Trade talk old and new: After the Jays acquired Lawrie from the Milwaukee Brewers at the 2010 winter meetings scouts say the Kansas City Royals offered former No. 1 pick Aaron Crow (9-10 with a 5.73 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 163 1/3 innings at class-A Wilmington and double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2010) and lefty Danny Duffy, a third rounder (5-3, 2.74, with 69 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings at rookie-class Idaho Falls, rookie-class Arizona League, Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas). The Jays declined ... California Angels of Anaheim have Peter Bourjos, son of former Jays scout Chris Bourjos on the market in a search for relief help.
In Game: Taking a two-run lead into the ninth, supplied by an Eric Thames homer and an J.P. Arencibia fly ball in the eighth, Saunders hit his first homered off Cordero with two outs to go. After Lawrie’s low throw catcher Arencbia compounded matters throwing the ball into the corner trying to nail pinch runner Munenori Kawasaki, who scampered to third. After Dustin Ackley was walked intentionally, Ryan’s single fell in front of a diving Colby Rasmus forcing extras ... Jesus Montero tagged a Ricky Romero pitch for a lead-off homer in the seventh and four batters later No. 9 hitter, Casper Wells, doubled home Miguel Olivo to make it 3-3 ... Romero didn’t allow a hit until Ackley’s double to open the sixth ... Rasmus, who had tripled to right in the second, hit a two-out, two-run double to right in the fourth for a 3-1 lead ... Edwin Encarnacion hit a solo homer to centre off Blake Beaven for the game’s first run.
Something you’ve never seen: Twice M’s pitchers attempted pick offs at first and threw the ball into the rhubarb patch. Beaven threw over wildly in the first allowing Kelly Johnson to go to third and Tom Wilhelmsen made a bad throw in the eighth allowing Lawrie to reach third. Lawrie scored the Jays fifth run ... Will never forget chatty Kirby Puckett getting on first and talking to John Olerud at Exhibition Stadium. Olerud answered, turning towards Puckett just as Duane Ward wheeled and threw. The ball sailed between the heads of Puckett and Olerud, wearing his protective batting helmet, and into right. Puckett scored the game winner.
First pitch: Marion Ross, formerly the mom on Happy Days, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Using a delayed motion which would make Hideo Nomo look like a fast worker, Ross bounced a strike to catcher Kyle (Fonzie) Drabek and planted a kiss on his cheek.