SEATTLE (AP) - Mariners outfielder Casper Wells tried to make light of it, but he acknowledged that getting hit in the face with a baseball was a scary experience.
Fortunately for Wells and the Seattle Mariners, a 97 mph fastball that hit Wells in the nose in the sixth inning - in an eventual 5-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays - caused only minimal damage Wednesday night.
As the pitch from Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow approached, Wells turned his head and the ball brushed the tip of his nose.
He jumped around in front of home plate holding his face. Blood left his nose as the trainer escorted him from the field. X-rays were negative and he is day to day.
``I felt like my nose fell off pretty much,' Wells said. ``I couldn't see, which was scary. My eyes got all watered up and I couldn't see what was going on. ... It was scary more than anything, coming right at my face and I couldn't get out of the way of it.
``I have a headache, my nose feels humongous, but I think I'll be all right.'
Wells' locker in the Mariners' clubhouse is next to first baseman Justin Smoak, who took a ball to the nose a week ago, causing a fracture.
His premature departure ended his streak of hitting four home runs in four straight games.
Morrow said that initially he couldn't tell where the ball hit Wells, ``and the way he reacted I was worried about him. I'm glad he's all right.'
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Wells and the club ``dodged a bullet.'
``He should be OK. It hit him in the nose, so it was fortunate it wasn't broken,' he said. ``Anytime you get up there, it's scary.'
Morrow (9-7) had no trouble missing Mariners' bats with his fastball. He allowed just three hits and one run over his six innings. Jesse Litsch, Casey Janssen and Frank Francisco each worked a hitless inning of relief.
``He had a live fastball. It was jumping on us a bit,' Wedge said. ``Our guys were up there taking their hacks, trying to fight through it.'
Morrow, who didn't allow a hit until two outs in the fourth, struck out a season-high 12. It's the fourth time this season he has struck out at least 10.
This was the first time Morrow had faced his former team in Seattle, which selected him in the first round of the 2006 draft. He was traded before the 2010 season for Mariners closer Brandon League. He did not pitch in the Jays' visit last season.
``I've changed a lot in two years, not my pitching style necessarily,' Morrow said, ``but my ability to do what I want with the ball has improved. And my ability to stay in the zone and my ability to stay in the game.
``I don't think I necessarily pitched up to my ability when I was here,' he said. ``I've improved. I enjoyed my time here. It was sad to leave, but it ended up to be a good move for both sides.'
Edwin Encarnacion hit a solo home run to open the second, Adam Lind had a three-run shot in the third and Colby Rasmus led off the fourth with his second. The three home runs gave the Jays eight for the three-game series.
All the runs came off Blake Beavan (3-4), who went five innings, throwing 98 pitches. He allowed five runs and six hits. In his past two starts, he has allowed 11 runs and 17 hits in 11 1-3 innings.
``Tonight, I was cutting off my pitches more than usual,' Beavan said. ``I usually don't do that. The last two starts have been bad for missing locations like that. I don't have the fastball to get away with pitches like that, when I miss that bad.'
Mike Carp sent a clean single to right in the fourth for the Mariners' first hit. That extended his hitting streak to 17 games. He is hitting .379 with four home runs and 18 RBIs during the streak.
He also has reached base safely in 26 straight games.
The Mariners finally reached Morrow in the sixth. With one out, Ichiro Suzuki beat out an infield single. He moved to second on a wild pitch and came home on Franklin Gutierrez's double off the left-center wall.
The threat continued as Dustin Ackley walked. With two outs, Wells was hit by the pitch to load the bases. Adam Kennedy replaced him. Morrow then struck out Trayvon Robinson.
Notes: RH Chance Ruffin made his Mariners debut. He worked one scoreless inning. Ruffin was the player to be named in the July 30 trade with Detroit. He joined the team before the game. ... LH Aaron Laffey was designated for assignment to make room on the roster. ... Beavan has allowed six home runs in his past two starts after allowing three in his first six. ... The Mariners had their streak of at least nine hits in seven straight games snapped.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved