Blue Jays' playoff hopes end despite rout of Mariners
Seven-run fifth backs strong Dickey, but Royals' win eliminates Toronto
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays hit their way to another win over the Mariners on Tuesday at Rogers Centre, but the victory was bittersweet.
Toronto was able to solve the American League's most dominant pitcher in a 10-2 victory, but the Royals' win over the Indians officially put the Blue Jays' playoffs hopes to rest for another year.
The Blue Jays erupted for a seven-run fifth to drive Seattle ace Felix Hernandez from the game, making it through 13 batters in the frame to deliver a repeat offensive outburst from the night before for a combined 24 runs in the opening two games of the series.
Manager John Gibbons said his team doesn't necessarily relish the opportunity to play spoiler to the Mariners -- who are in the thick of the AL Wild Card hunt -- but at this point in the season, it's a little extra bit of motivation.
"I think everyone is disappointed with where we're at. But you come out and try to win a game," Gibbons said. "Facing the guys we did, you know it's not going to be an easy task. These are rare things, especially doing it back-to-back days against those guys. You just enjoy that. You try to win, you enjoy it if somebody else has got a shot at it and you're at the end. You get a little enjoyment out of it. It's not what drives you, but it never hurts."
After the Blue Jays notched one run in the first, it looked as though Hernandez had settled in, as he retired 11 straight batters through the fourth inning.
But the wheels fell off in the fifth as the Blue Jays took it to the Mariners, drawing three walks and five hits off Hernandez before he was yanked in favour of Dominic Leone, who hit the first batter he faced before Josh Thole cashed one in to push the lead to 8-2, all but sealing it for Toronto.
The highlight of the inning came from the bat of Dalton Pompey, who hit his first career homer to the second deck to start the rally. With the home run, Pompey became the ninth Canadian-born player to hit a dinger as a Blue Jay.
Hernandez, the front-runner to lock down the AL Cy Young Award this season, was at a loss when asked about his uncharacteristically bad performance. He said he let his team down.
"Geez, I don't know," he said. "My fastball wasn't there, my changeup was OK. I made a couple mistakes.
"Real disappointed. As an ace, I let my team down. That was my fault."
Outside of that big fifth inning, there wasn't a whole lot to see from either side. Seattle was able to put up a pair of runs off R.A. Dickey on three hits in the third, but otherwise the 39-year-old was able to contain the Mariners' offense with the knuckleball.
With another big night from the Blue Jays' bats, it could've been easy to miss an unheralded outing from Dickey, who threw his sixth straight quality start and team-leading 22nd of the season.
Dickey retired the first six batters he faced to start the game, and after his third-inning stumble, went on to record his fifth win in his last seven starts.
All said, Dickey (14-12) went seven innings and allowed two earned runs on five hits with six strikeouts.
Dickey said that though he's disappointed that the Blue Jays won't be making a trip to the postseason, he doesn't expect his squad to ease up in any of its final five games of the season.
"There's always the pressure to play for something," Dickey said. "I've said that from Day 1. If you can make it about that game, regardless of the situation ... you can be a professional about it."