SEATTLE -- It's been a month now since the Mariners' once-flourishing offense went missing. It's been a very long month, with frustrations and losses mounting for a club that dropped its fourth straight game on Friday night, a 7-2 loss to the Blue Jays at Safeco Field.
The Mariners have lost 16 of 24 games since July 4 and scored just 80 runs in the process -- the second-lowest production among the 30 Major League clubs in that span -- while watching their promising playoff position begin to wane, as well.
The latest setback led to a players-only postgame meeting and a reminder that there are still 52 games to determine this club's fate.
"We've still got two more months of baseball," said second baseman Dee Gordon. "There are peaks and valleys. This game is hard for everybody. We just have to relax. We're getting away from our identity a little bit. Once we get our swagger back and everybody brings their shoulders down a little bit, I think we'll be all right."
The talk was simple, according to starting pitcher Marco Gonzales.
"The only conversation is we're going to stay together through this," he said. "This is a long season, it's 162 games. It's not won or lost on any series or any game, but the way we'll get this done is to stay together and play together and play like the team we did in the first couple months of the season when we were proving people wrong."
The loss dropped Seattle to 63-47, now 6 1/2 games back of Houston in the American League West and 1 1/2 games behind the A's in the chase for the second Wild Card berth.
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Gonzales has been Seattle's best pitcher for much of the season, but even the young lefty couldn't snap this skid as he saw his personal five-game win streak end. After giving up just two homers in those previous five games, Gonzales surrendered a pair of long balls -- a solo shot to Russell Martin and two-run pop by Devon Travis -- in seven innings, falling to 12-6 with a 3.46 ERA.
Third baseman Kyle Seager went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Mitch Haniger was 2-for-4 with a run scored, but the Mariners totaled six hits and have now lost four straight at home for the first time this season.
Gonzales allowed seven hits and four runs over his seven frames, with no walks and seven strikeouts. It certainly wasn't the best result for the 26-year-old, who'd allowed six runs over 34 1/3 innings during his five-game win streak, but manager Scott Servais said that was misleading.
"I thought Marco threw the ball very well," Servais said. "He made basically one mistake with the home run to Travis. He also gave up the homer to Russell Martin when the pitch before was probably strike three and he didn't get the call, then he hits the next pitch out of the ballpark. But that's probably the best stuff Marco has had in the last 3-4 outings. He was very aggressive, very efficient."
But Gonzales didn't get any help in this one as Toronto rookie Ryan Borucki picked up his first Major League win by allowing just an unearned run over eight innings as the Blue Jays improved to 50-59 and 3-2 vs. Seattle.
"It was kind of the same old tune here offensively," Servais said. "It will turn. I know it will. Our guys know it will. But it is really frustrating right now."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Mariners got back-to-back singles by Jean Segura and Haniger with one out in the sixth and had a chance to finally get to Borucki with the heart of their order, but Nelson Cruz popped out and Seager torched a line drive right at right fielder Randal Grichuk.
"Everybody is grinding away trying to figure out a way out of this thing," said Servais. "But tonight we get a couple guys on and Seager hits a bullet right at the right fielder. That's what happens when you're kind of in one of these ruts. But it will turn. I feel very confident about that."
HE SAID IT
"I take it personally when a team comes in here and brings their faithful fans with their muddy shoes and stomps on our carpet. I take it personal and I tried to let that be known tonight." -- Gonzales, on pitching with an edge while trying to silence the Blue Jays and their loyal followers who filled much of the crowd of 30,715
James Paxton (9-4, 3.49 ERA) will try to get things turned around as faces the Blue Jays for the first time since his no-hitter in Toronto on May 8. The big lefty is coming off seven scoreless innings on three hits in a 2-0 win over the Astros. Toronto counters with right-hander Marco Estrada (4-8, 4.90 ERA) in the 7:10 p.m. PT contest.