TORONTO — After a flawless 15 innings of shutout relief pitching in the first five games of the homestand, the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen faltered to end the team’s six-game win streak.
Cal Raleigh slammed a two-run homer in the 10th inning and the Seattle Mariners earned a 10-8 comeback win to avoid a series sweep against the Blue Jays (18-10) on Sunday. The win halted the Mariners’ (12-16) four-game losing streak before 40,158 at Rogers Centre.
“Everyone’s going to have a bad day,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “Today was missed spots and probably some pitch selection that could have been a little bit different.”
The Blue Jays enjoyed an 8-4 advantage when starter Chris Bassitt was removed from the game after five innings.
His replacement, Trevor Richards, surrendered a solo shot to Teoscar Hernandez, his seventh, in the sixth.
Raleigh smacked his first of two homers, a two-run blast, in the eighth inning off Anthony Bass.
The Mariners pulled even with J.P. Crawford’s run-scoring single to right field in the ninth inning off Yimi Garcia.
Raleigh’s extra-inning blast to right field came off Toronto reliever Zach Pop (1-1) with one out.
“We’ve been losing these close games, and stuff hasn’t been going our way,” Crawford said. “But it’s a full circle, and we’ll get back to how we are.”
The Mariners eliminated Toronto with a two-game sweep in the American League wild-card series last fall but dropped the first two games of this three-game set — 3-2 on Friday and 1-0 on Saturday.
Bassitt struck out the first two Mariners he faced. He then walked Jarred Kelenic and Raleigh and hit former Blue Jay Hernandez to load the bases.
Fresh off the injured list after a broken right hand he suffered in spring training, Taylor Trammell crushed his first career grand slam down the right-field line.
Bassitt was unhappy with a called ball in the Kelenic at-bat. Then, after he reviewed the pitch in the dugout on a tablet, Bassitt had a hissy fit, slamming down the device twice.
The Blue Jays righty had a prolonged discussion with home plate umpire Mark Carlson after the second inning.
“I’m not going to talk about the first,” Bassitt said. “We know what happened. It’s part of it. It is what it is.
“Umpiring is hard.”
Bassitt gave up a single to Kolten Wong after the Trammell grand slam and wound up walking four and striking out seven in his five innings of work.
“He was frustrated after that first,” Schneider said.
“But I can’t say enough about his composure to lock it back in.”
Paul Sewald (2-0) worked the ninth for the win. Reliever Matt Brash of Kingston, ON, yielded a George Springer single for the Blue Jays’ 14th hit but recovered for his first save of the year.
Mariners starter Marco Gonzales pitched three innings. After his teammates spotted him a 4-0 lead, Gonzales allowed a two-run double from Matt Chapman in the first inning and Bo Bichette’s three-run bomb in the second.
Bichette’s sixth homer was a 460-foot shot to the second deck in left-centre field after Santiago Espinal reached base on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on Springer’s single.
The Blue Jays struck for three more in the third after an infield hit from Chapman, a one-out single to right from Alejandro Kirk and a two-out double down the left-field line from Danny Jansen.
Jansen scored on Espinal’s single to left to put Toronto ahead 8-4.
Chapman’s 3-for-5 outing included two doubles for his 14th and 15th on the year to set a franchise record for the most two-baggers before May 1st. Ed Sprague and Eric Hinske previously held the mark at 13.
Chapman has a seven-game hit streak, leading the AL in batting average (.384) and MLB in extra-base hits (20), doubles (15) and total bases (68).
Whit Merrifield extended his on-base streak to a perfect 21-for-21 in 2023 with a seventh-inning single to centre field.
Merrifield has batted .320 with 24 hits, seven doubles, 10 RBIs and seven walks.
The Blue Jays begin a four-game series at Fenway Park on Monday against the Boston Red Sox. Jose Berrios (2-3) will start for Toronto, while Corey Kluber (1-4) is set to take the mound for Boston.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2023.
Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press