* Following a dominant Felix Hernandez performance Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays lost the 'easy one' Tuesday night against veteran Chris Young (pictured) and the Mariners. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in Minors … Canadians in College …. MLB Scouting Bureau camps 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
SEATTLE -- This was supposed to be the easiest one.
After Felix Hernandez allowed a solo homer to Jose Bautista and then two -- maybe three loud fouls -- the Seattle Mariners put up a seven-spot against Drew Hutchison and Brad Mills on Monday, so facing not-so-young Chris Young was not supposed to be so difficult Tuesday night.
For the finale won’t be a walk along the Puget Sound at sunset with the wind blowing through Colby Rasmus’ hair and Adam Lind’s goatee as the Jays face Hisashi Iwakuma, third in last year’s Cy Young award voting, Wednesday night.
The Jays made not-so-Young Chris Young, 35, look as good as Cy Denton Young managing only two hits in six innings as the M’s scored four straight innings against lefty JA Happ for a 6-3 win before 26,076 fans at Safeco Field.
With the loss, the Jays fall 6 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East and now sit two games behind the Detroit Tigers and the Mariners, who share the second wild-card spot.
“We’re hoping for one of those games where we score some runs,” manager John Gibbons told reporters before the game.
He was still hoping when Munenori Kawasaki lined out to left against closer Fernando Rodney to end it.
It looked like it might be the kind of night Gibbons was hoping for 10 pitches in, as the Jays were up 1-nil as they say in the soccer-mad Great Northwest. Shortstop Jose Reyes drew a four-pitch walk and Melky Cabrera doubled to right centre. A Jose Bautista fly ball moved Cabrera to third with one out but Adam Lind, in his first game back, fanned and Dioner Navarro popped up. It was the start of 14 consecutive Jays going down in order.
“We couldn’t solve Young, we didn’t make any adjustment. We came out of the gates and left that runner on third that would have been a big second run. Young basically shot us down.”
And again it looked like it might be the night Gibbons wanted again in the eighth as Reyes and Cabrera singled, Bautista knocked in a run with a double against reliever Brandon Maurer to bring the tying run to the plate. Pinch hitter Nolan Reimold hit a scoring fly ball to make it 5-3.
That was it, that was all.
Since the all-star break, Happ has had a 1.71 ERA, pitching at least seven innings in his past two starts. He went six, allowing five runs -- four earns -- on seven hits and a walk.
The reviews on Happ’s outing differed:
Happ: “This may sound strange when you look at the results, but I’ll take my chances with the way I threw tonight. I made mistakes to Logan Morrison and Kyle Seager, leaving the ball over the plate and they made me pay. The pitch to Kendrys Morales was a fastball away and he reached out and dropped it in, there’s nothing you can do.”
Gibbons: “Happ wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good enough.”
Gibbons needed a lengthy outing from Happ, what with three relievers (Chad Jenkins, Aaron Sanchez and Todd Redmond) still unavailable to work, although veteran Mark Buehrle did volunteer to pitch if needed.
Happ allowed two homers (14 on the year), a drive to right by Seager in the fourth to put Seattle ahead 2-1, and a Morales blast to left in the sixth for a four-run lead.
“They’re on a roll over there,” said Gibbons. It doesn’t get any easier with Iwakuma. That’s for sure.”
Action Jackson: With two out and Morrison on the move from first, in the third inning, Austin Jackson singled to centre. Colby Rasmus short hopped the ball and it kicked a few feet left. Third base coach Rich Donnelly waved Morrison home and he scored easily as Rasmus' throw was wide and to the backstop for an unearned run. Happ was backing up the plate but was not in line with the throw.
In Game: Aaron Loup was on the mound when the Jays gift-wrapped a run for the M’s in the eighth. After Morales doubled, pinch runner James Jones advanced on a wild pitch and was safe when first baseman Danny Valencia threw high to Loup covering first ... Navarro threw out Seager attempting to steal in the sixth ... Happ looked to be in good shape facing Robinson Cano when he threw to first and Ackley broke for second. But instead of getting the third out, Juan Francisco caught the ball and quickly fired -- causing a screen shot for shortstop Jose Reyes covering second. All Francisco had to do was take two steps into the infield and create a better angle and he would have had the third out. Happ retired Cano on a bouncer ... Jackson had a six-pitch at-bat before hitting a sharp one hopper to Francisco near the first base bag. Morrison broke from third and stopped. It took the Jays almost as many throws as Happ pitches before Morrison was erased 3-2-5-2. Morrison stayed in the rundown long enough for Chris Taylor to move from first to third and Jackson to reach second. Four pitches later, Ackley lined a two-run single to left for a 4-1 lead ... Happ had help in the early going as Bautista traced a ball to the track and third baseman Valencia charged a roller and threw on the run in the second. The best defensive play was Cabrera making a mad dash towards the foul line to grab a Dustin Ackley drive on the track ... Adam Lind struck out and bounced out twice in his return.
Lind returns: Not that Adam Lind has been around a while, but he showed Tuesday in the dugout at Safeco Field wearing a T-shirt with a Blue Jays logo from 2006.
The one without the red Maple Leaf and the beak of the bird coming out of the letter J.
Not that Lind has been gone a while, but when he stepped in against Tuesday’s starter, right-hander Chris Young, it was his first game since July 7. He missed 29 games. The Jays were 47-44, three games out of first place when Lind finally had an MRI on his foot. Without him, they were 16-13 and are six games off the pace.
“I watched a lot of baseball, but sitting watching and talking with your wife is not what I’m used to,” said Lind, who originally fouled a ball off his foot June 14 and played injured for 17 days.
Lind was asked if he went 19 innings watching the Jays as they finally beat the Detroit Tigers on Jose Bautista’s walk-off single.
“I quit about the 13th to watch golf, then my agent (John Courtright) sent me a text, ‘crazy game.’ After that, we flipped between baseball and golf,” said Lind. “I didn’t really care about the golf, but I was with some people who had a wager ... so I was rooting against them (in the golf).”
Lind said he didn’t have a setback as the Jays indicated earlier.
“I tested my foot and it wasn’t ready, I tested it again and the pain was tolerable,” Lind told reporters. “The pain never got better, but the foot did.”
Lind came to Seattle from a rehab assignment in Dunedin where he had one game with the rookie-class Gulf Coast Jays and hit two doubles in two appearances against the Gulf Coast Astros.
“I had plenty of at-bats, just not in games,” said Lind, who faced re-habbing reliever Neil Wagner, hard-throwing prospect Roberto Osuna and another Jays farmhand, who “pretty much put it to me the first day and the second time I did a lot better.”
And so the Jays lineup continues to lengthen ... not to the lengths of the Jays' scalding June when it looked like this:
But better than the weekend when it took on this form:
With Lind, who flew Clearwater-Chicago-Seattle, the Jays ran out a lineup against Young of:
1. Reyes, 2. Cabrera, 3. Bautista, 4. Lind, 5. Navarro, 6. Rasmus, 7. 3B Danny Valencia, 8. Francisco and 9. Kawasaki.
First baseman Edwin Encarnacion will give the lineup more length -- the Jays hope -- on Friday when they reach US Cellular Field in Chicago when he finishes his rehab assignment at triple-A Buffalo.
And the Jays certainly hope both Lind and Encarnacion are around longer than Lawrie.
In his first game since June 22, Lawrie hit what looked like a sure double on Aug. 5 against the Baltimore Orioles, but missed first base, jammed on the breaks and retreated to first.
“Brett’s a lot faster than I am,” said Lind. “So his stops and starts are a lot more violent.”
How loud was it: It was so loud Monday night when Jose Bautista homered and then later when Robinson Cano went deep that cameramen working the game could not hear in their headsets.
“People here never sing our anthem,” said one, “but they played the Canadian anthem first and so many people sung, everyone sang the US anthem.”
Lineup change: Reyes was back at shortstop after being given Monday night off as Felix Hernandez pitched a major-league record 15th consecutive game of seven innings allowing two runs or less.
“I don’t think Reyes was going to drive in eight,” Gibbons said.
Colours: Besides the sections of blue Blue Jays jerseys, the prominent color in the seats is green ... as in Rider Pride, the Saskatchewan Rough Riders. We spoke to one family who made the drive from Regina leaving Saturday morning to make Monday’s series opener.
Familiar face: Chris Woodward, drafted in the 54th round in 1994 by the Jays, who played 362 games in parts of seven seasons with Toronto, is the Mariners' first base coach. He’s been credited with improving the play of the M’s young infielders ... Meanwhile, M’s pitching coach Rick Waits was Gibbons' pitching coach for five seasons in the New York Mets minor league system. Hitting coach Howard Johnson and Gibbons played together with the Mets. Pitching for the Cleveland Indians in 1979, Waits beat the New York Yankees and Catfish Hunter in Game 162 to allow the Boston Red Sox and bullpen coach Bob Stanley to host a playoff at Fenway. Waits is remembered by Red Sox fans ... in a better light than Bucky Dent who homered as the Yankees won 5-4.