Toronto — Michael Saunders had his second career two-home run performance at Rogers Centre, while Dustin Ackley smacked a grand slam as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-1, Saturday in the second of a three-game set.
Saunders, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, also hit two homers in Toronto’s home park on April 28 of last season and now has five along with 11 RBI in his last 10 games there dating back to Sept. 22, 2010. He added a run- scoring double and finished with three RBI in the victory.
Hisashi Iwakuma (3-1) tossed seven solid innings of one-run, five-hit ball for the Mariners, winners in six of their last seven games. Kelly Shoppach drove in one run with a double.
R.A. Dickey (2-5) suffered his third straight defeat after being tagged for seven runs and all three of Seattle’s homers while striking out five over six innings. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, have lost four straight and 10 of their last 12 overall.
“We’re kind of searching for a way to score runs, a way to pitch well,” Dickey said. “We’re doing a lot of things poorly, myself included.”
Munenori Kawasaki plated the Jays’ only run with a sacrifice fly.
Dickey quickly ran into some trouble, as Saunders — the game’s first batter — deposited his 1-0 offering over the right-field wall to give the Mariners an early 1-0 lead.
Ackley expanded Seattle’s lead in the fourth with his first career grand slam. With a runner on first and two down, Dickey issued consecutive walks to Raul Ibanez and Shoppach to load the bases. Ackley then made the knuckleballer pay with a shot to right-center for his first homer of the season that gave Seattle a 5-0 advantage.
With one out in the fifth, Saunders poked his second homer of the day over the right-field wall to make it 6-0. One inning later, Ibanez smacked a one-out triple in the right-center gap and scored on Shoppach’s double to left.
Kawasaki finally put the Jays on the board with a sacrifice fly to center in the seventh that scored Rajai Davis.
Saunders rounded out the scoring — and his stellar afternoon — with a RBI double in the ninth that plated Robert Andino.
“He just brings a lot of energy and intensity to the top of our lineup,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said of Saunders.
Toronto fell to 6-12 at home this season … Dickey had only given up one grand slam in his career, which came to the Blue Jays’ Kevin Millar in 2009 while then with Minnesota. The righty already has three losses at home this season after dropping a total of three home starts for the Mets last year … Saunders had the fourth multi-homer game of his career … Iwakuma had received just one run of support from the Mariners in his previous three starts.