- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

TORONTO (AP) - The worst inning Felix Hernandez has ever endured put another dent in Seattle’s sinking playoff hopes.

Dalton Pompey hit his first major league homer off Hernandez, and the Toronto Blue Jays roughed up the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner for a career worst-tying eight earned runs in a 10-2 victory over the Mariners on Tuesday night.

“As an ace, I take responsibility,” Hernandez said. “I let my team down. That’s my fault.”

The slumping Mariners fell three games out of the second AL wild-card spot with five games remaining.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” outfielder Austin Jackson said. “We know the situation that we’re in.”

Seattle lost its fourth straight thanks to another poor effort by a starting pitcher. Mariners starters have failed to complete five innings in any of the past four games, allowing 27 earned runs over 14 2-3 innings in that span for an ugly ERA of 16.56.

“We’re not playing well right now,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “A lot of things are going wrong, but we’re still alive.”

Despite the win, Toronto was eliminated from playoff contention when Kansas City beat Cleveland.

“We’re all disappointed,” Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey said. “We should be.”

Edwin Encarnacion had a two-run shot and Dickey (14-12) allowed two runs over seven innings to win for the fourth time in five starts.

Hernandez (14-6) came in with a 2.07 ERA this season and had allowed just three earned runs in 28 innings over four September starts. He gave up a run in the first on Encarnacion’s RBI single, but retired the next 11 batters, striking out five.

That streak ended in the fifth, when Pompey led off with a second-deck homer.

“I’ve played with that guy in video games,” Pompey said, referring to Hernandez. “To think that I just hit a home run off him is pretty crazy.”

Anthony Gose followed with a double and Josh Thole reached on a bunt single when Hernandez couldn’t pick up the ball.

“After that it was downhill,” Hernandez said.

It sure was. Ryan Goins made it 3-2 Toronto with a sacrifice fly. Jose Reyes singled, Jose Bautista walked and Encarnacion drew a bases-loaded walk before Adam Lind hit an RBI single. Munenori Kawasaki drove in a run with a fielder’s choice, and Pompey walked before Dominic Leone replaced Hernandez.

“He just seemed to lose his command in the fifth inning for some reason,” McClendon said.

Leone did Hernandez no favors, hitting Gose with a pitch to force in another run and giving up an RBI single to Thole before Goins flied out, ending the seven-run, 13-batter inning. The seven runs were the most ever allowed by Hernandez in a single inning.

Hernandez gave up seven hits, walked three and boosted his career-high strikeout total to 241.


Blue Jays LHP Daniel Norris has been tabbed to start Thursday’s series finale in place of suspended Marcus Stroman. Gibbons said Norris, who will be making his first big league start, will be limited to two or three innings. Stroman will work out of the bullpen once he returns Friday.


McClendon said he’ll use multiple relievers to get through Thursday’s game, but declined to say which pitcher will start. McClendon removed struggling right-hander Chris Young from the rotation Monday, creating a vacancy.


Pompey became the ninth Canadian player to hit a home run for the Blue Jays, joining Rob Ducey, Paul Hodgson, Corey Koskie, Brett Lawrie, Adam Loewen, Dave McKay, Simon Pond and Matt Stairs.


Blue Jays: Lind returned to first base after missing the previous three games with a sore back.


Mariners RHP Taijuan Walker (1-2) faces Blue Jays LHP Mark Buehrle (12-10) on Wednesday. Buehrle is six innings shy of reaching 200 for the 14th consecutive season.

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