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Mariners hand Jays, Dickey another loss

TORONTO (AP) - Dustin Ackley hit his first career grand slam, Michael Saunders homered twice and the Seattle Mariners roughed up Cy Young knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, beating the struggling Toronto Blue Jays 8-1 on Saturday afternoon.

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Seattle's offensive outburst was welcomed by right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who'd received just one run of support in his previous three outings. He pitched seven sharp innings to win for the first time in four starts.

Pitching on an extra day of rest as he attempted to overcome neck and back soreness, Dickey lost his third straight start. He allowed six hits, including a season-high three home runs. He walked two and struck out five.

Dickey (2-5) was booed by the crowd of 35,754 after Raul Ibanez hit a one-out triple to center in the sixth and scored on Kelly Shoppach's double. As the runs piled up, some fans responded with chants of ``Go Leafs Go'' for the NHL's Maple Leafs, currently in the playoffs against the Boston Bruins.

Iwakuma (3-1) allowed one run and five hits. He walked three and struck out five, lowering his ERA to 1.61. Yoervis Medina pitched the eighth and Oliver Perez worked the ninth for the Mariners, who have won seven of their past eight meetings with Toronto.

Saunders homered on Dickey's second pitch of the game, the second leadoff homer of his career, then added another solo shot in the fifth. It was the fourth multihomer game of his career and his first this season.

Saunders added an RBI double off Brett Cecil in the ninth and finished 3 for 5 with three RBIs.

Ackley connected on a 3-2 pitch in the fourth, immediately after Dickey (2-5) had loaded the bases with back-to-back walks to Ibanez and Shoppach. The blast to center was Ackley's first homer of the season.

Dickey lost consecutive starts only once during his NL Cy Young season with the New York Mets in 2012. His last three-start losing streak came in July and August of 2011.

It was a bad day all around for the Blue Jays, who even appeared to lose track of the number of outs and were slow to come off the field after Kendrys Morales struck out to end the fifth.

Toronto has lost four straight and has been outscored 25-3 since Tuesday's 9-7 comeback win over Boston. A season-worst 11 games below .500, the Blue Jays have lost 14 of 18 overall.

Blanked by Felix Hernandez on Friday, the Blue Jays struggled to get anything going against Iwakuma, finally snapping a 23-inning scoreless streak on Munenori Kawasaki's sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Toronto loaded the bases in the first thanks to a pop-up that Ackley lost in the sun, but Colby Rasmus struck out on three pitches and Rajai Davis fanned to end the threat.

Consecutive singles by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion put runners on the corners with two outs in the third, but Rasmus flied out.

NOTES: Mariners manager Eric Wedge gave 1B Justin Smoak and OF Jason Bay the day off against Dickey. ... Seattle's Joe Saunders (2-3) faces Brandon Morrow (0-2) in Sunday's series finale. ... Dickey underwent an MRI on Wednesday that revealed mild inflammation in his neck and back. It's the same injury that forced him to leave after the sixth inning of an April 18 start against the Chicago White Sox. ... Dickey went 5-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 32 games for Seattle in 2008.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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