- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

TORONTO (AP) - A milestone moment for rookie outfielder Dalton Pompey gave the Blue Jays reason to smile even as their playoff hopes ended.

Pompey hit his first major league homer off Felix Hernandez, and Toronto roughed up the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner for a career worst-tying eight earned runs Tuesday night in a 10-2 victory over the Mariners that further dented Seattle’s fading wild-card chances.

“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.”

The Blue Jays led the AL East into June and remained in wild-card contention until going 9-17 in August. They were mathematically eliminated when Kansas City beat Cleveland.

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

Pompey’s impressive drive, a second-deck shot that came with his parents and brother in the stands, eased Toronto’s pain a little bit.

“That’s what the night should be about,” Dickey said.

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.

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

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

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

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,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “A lot of things are going wrong, but we’re still alive.”

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 his homer. Anthony Gose doubled, Josh Thole reached on a bunt single and Ryan Goins made it 3-2 Toronto with a sacrifice fly.

“After that it was downhill,” Hernandez said.

It sure was. 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.

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 was tabbed to start Thursday’s series finale in place of suspended Marcus Stroman. Manager John 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.


The Blue Jays extended their contract with Class A Lansing through the 2016 season. Lansing has been affiliated with Toronto since 2005.


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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