Final: Toronto 3, Mariners 1.
Some Mariners reaction:
Bench coach/acting manager ROBBY THOMPSON
(Iwakuma) gave up two hits and was at 93 pitches. We felt good about sending him out. He had been in command of the game. Obviously, just a one-run lead, we felt it was good to send him back out there. It unfolded on us there a little bit. But you know what? He pitched a real good game – two hits, that’s obvious – and we felt he was our best bet to send back out there.
We put up one run on the board. R.A. Dickey did a great job against us. We got a couple of opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of. We had a little bit of a base-running blunder. We knew that was probably come down to be a big run that we wish we could have gotten. But that’s the game of baseball.
(Dickey) definitely had it dancing all through the night. When we did have runners on we didn’t capitalize on it.
On his home run: It was up, I was swining. I just happened catch it at the right time.
On the pro-Jays crowd: I’m not going to say what I want to say. It is what it is. I guess we’re as close to Canada as anybody. … It was a good crowd for a Monday night game. Good for them, I guess.
My stuff was OK. I had a hard time commanding my pitches early in the game, but I was able to pitch effectively. I was able to keep the ball down, and that helped me a lot.
I’ll be back with some clubhouse reaction.
Eighth: Brett Lawrie opens inning with a triple, then comes home with a one-out game-tying single from Jose Reyes. That ends the night for Iwakuma. Medina in. He faces three batters and leaves with the bases loaded. Perez in. Pinch hitter Mark DeRosa single makes it 3-1 Toronto.
Seventh: Juston Smoak opens the bottom half with a home run to right. Mariners, 1-0.
Attendance: 32,300. Many wearing Blue Jays blue.
Through six innings: Scoreless.
Play ball: First pitch has been thrown — to the chant of “Let’s go Blue Jays.” We’re under way. Blue Jay fans seem in solid majority tonight.
Pregame: Seattle outfielder Dustin Ackley knew that one day he might be asked to fill in as second baseman Dustin Ackley again.
That day arrived today.
“Kind of a surprise,” he admitted before the Mariners’ home game with the Toronto Blue Jays. “Nobody ever said anything like, ‘You are going to be starting at second this day.’ So, a little bit of a surprise. But I’ve been taking ground balls and all that kind of stuff ever since I started playing outfield. They always told me be ready just in case I play second base, and I see why now.”
Actually, several “whys” were listed by Mariners’ acting manager Robby Thompson: The club wanted another day of rest for second baseman Nick Franklin, who isn’t exactly injured, but is feeling the wear as his first Major League season rolls into August. Meanwhile, Ackley needed some work. And then there was the matter of Toronto’s starting pitcher: knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
“(Ackley) was our starting second baseman for a year and a half — we penciled him in there every day,” Thompson said. “So, it’s just a matter of giving Nick another day off. A lot of times getting two days off makes a bigger difference than having the one day off. Another thing was with Dickey pitching — a knuckleballer — that may not be a real good matchup for him after the day off. Also, Ack’s got a home run off of him. He hasn’t played a whole lot the last six games, so we thought that was a good time to put him in.”
When – and where – that next time will come, Thompson didn’t know. Neither would he speculate on what the club sees Ackley as a long-term position – if any.
“We’re trying to figure out where Ack’s going to fit in,” he said. “Is it going to be one spot – one position that he’s at every day – or is he going to be a super utility guy? I don’t know that. It’s basically how well he does coming around with the bat, and we’ll see how it plays out.”
A couple of other notes:
*When manager Eric Wedge suffered what was called “a very mild stroke” last month, the Mariners reported immediately that he would be out at least through the just-completed road trip to Boston and Baltimore. On Monday, Thompson gave this update: “He’s doing great. He’s rested well, he’s driving around by himself, he’s doing all the things that people do and he normally does. But once again, he has to be 100 percent when he comes back. And when that time is we’re not real sure – including himself. … It is killing him being away when we go on the road, being away from the guys in general; it’s killing him not being in charge and being the leader, which he is, of this ball club and this organization. But within due time he will be back and up and running, being in charge again.”
*The Mariners’ radio contract with KIRO 710-AM has been extended through 2016, the club announced Monday. The station has been the Mariners flagship station since 2009, and from 1985-2002 before that.