What more fitting way for Mariners to end an awful weekend in Canada than to suffer a walk-off loss Sunday at the Rogers Centre?
Kevin Pillar rocked a hanging two-out slider from Edwin Diaz in the ninth inning for a no-doubt homer that lifted the Toronto Blue Jays to a 3-2 victory and a sweep of their four-game series against the Mariners.
The big problem this weekend was the Mariners’ attack flatlined by scoring just six runs in four games — after starting the road trip by producing 21 runs in a two-game sweep in Philadelphia.
One big difference was Robinson Cano. He went 6-for-8 with two homers and five RBIs in the two victories over the Phillies before missing all four games against the Blue Jays because of a strained right quadriceps muscle.
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While it’s likely to be a game-time decision, the Mariners are cautiously optimistic that Cano will return to the lineup Monday when they open a three-game series against Oakland at Safeco Field.
Three takeaways from Sunday’s loss:
***The hit man: Shortstop Jean Segura continues to provide the type of production from the leadoff spot that the Mariners haven’t enjoyed since Ichiro Suzuki was in his prime.
Segura went 2-for-4 in Sunday’s loss, which extended his hitting streak to 13 games and raised his league-leading average to .371. Despite missing 12 games, he is also tied for fifth in the league in hits.
The Mariners’ attack had a lot of problems in Toronto, but Segura was 7-for-17 in the four games.
***Miranda delivers: The Mariners are staving for innings from a patchwork rotation that now has five starters (including replacement Ryan Weber) on the disabled list.
Left-hander Ariel Miranda responded Sunday by tying a career high with eight strikeouts while pitching five shutout innings before getting pulled after a leadoff walk in the sixth.
Yes, the Mariners would normally prefer six or more innings from their starting pitcher but, these days, they’ll take five zeroes.
***Bullpen leakage: The reason the Mariners view five solid innings from a starting pitcher as sufficient is they believe their core five relievers can nurse a lead for up to 12 outs.
Only that didn’t happen over the last two days in Toronto.
On Saturday, Tony Zych gave up a game-tying homer, and Nick Vincent surrendered a tie-breaking, three-run blast. On Sunday, James Pazos blew a one-run lead by giving up a two-run homer before Diaz served up Pillar’s walk-off.
The Mariners’ big problem in Toronto was a punchless attack, but better bullpen work might have salvaged at least one victory and maybe a split.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners