Ackley hits grand slam to power Mariners over slumping Jays

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The Canadian Press
5/4/2013 7:31:16 PM
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TORONTO -- Dustin Ackley hit his first career grand slam and Canadian Michael Saunders belted two solo homers as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 8-1 on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

Ackley broke the game open in the fourth inning when he belted a 3-2 pitch from Toronto starter R.A. Dickey over the wall in right-centre field. That was more than enough support for Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma, who allowed five hits and one earned run over seven innings.

Toronto (10-21) extended its losing skid to four games while Seattle (15-17) has won three in a row.

The Blue Jays have yet to win a home series this year, dropping five and splitting one. They will try to avoid the three-game sweep in the series finale Sunday.

Saunders, from Victoria, took Dickey's second pitch of the day over the wall in right field. The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the bottom half of the frame but Iwakuma (3-1) struck out Colby Rasmus and Rajai Davis to end the threat.

Maicer Izturis walked to lead off the second inning for Toronto and was forced out at second base when Henry Blanco hit into a 5-4-3 double play. Seattle first baseman Kendrys Morales was pulled off the bag when the throw was wide and swung his glove back in an attempt to tag Blanco.

Television replays appeared to show that it was a phantom tag but Blanco was called out anyway. Manager John Gibbons came out to argue the decision to no avail and Munenori Kawasaki grounded out to end the inning.

Dickey, who won the National League Cy Young Award last year with the New York Mets, retired nine straight after the leadoff homer. But the veteran knuckleballer got into trouble in the fourth inning.

Morales hit a one-out single and moved to second on a Michael Morse grounder. Raul Ibanez and Kelly Shoppach drew walks to load the bases before Ackley launched his first homer of the year.

Saunders hit his second home run of the game in the fifth inning. It was his fourth homer of the year and the fourth multi-homer game of his career.

Seattle added another run in the sixth. Ibanez tripled and scored when Shoppach doubled down the left-field line.

Saunders struck again in the eighth inning with an RBI double off reliever Brett Cecil that scored Robert Andino.

Dickey (2-5) pitched six innings, allowing six hits, seven earned runs and two walks. He struck out five and his earned-run average rose to 5.36 from 4.50.

Iwakuma, who owns a sparkling 1.61 ERA, walked three and had five strikeouts.

The Blue Jays finally got on the board in the seventh to end a 23-inning scoring drought. Rajai Davis walked, moved to third on a Henry Blanco double and scored when Kawasaki hit a sacrifice fly.

Seattle outhit Toronto 8-6. The Blue Jays have lost 10 of their last 12 games and are 28th in the 30-team major leagues.

Announced attendance was 35,754 and the game took two hours 28 minutes to play.

Notes: Right-hander Brandon Morrow (0-2) is scheduled to start for Toronto on Sunday afternoon. The Mariners will counter with left-hander Joe Saunders (2-3). ... The Blue Jays will open a four-game road series at Tampa Bay on Monday. The Mariners will get the day off before continuing their road trip with a two-game set against Pittsburgh. ... Toronto outrighted right-hander Justin Germano to triple-A Buffalo on Saturday, a day after he was designated for assignment. He allowed two earned runs over two innings in his lone appearance with the Blue Jays this season.

Dustin Ackley R.A. Dickey (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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