Mariners limit Blue Jays to just two hits as Toronto falls ten games below .500

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Even playing at their unofficial home away from home, the Blue Jays’ struggles continued.

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Western Canadians once again packed T-Mobile Park in Seattle, making an away game feel more like home, but what didn’t feel at all homey and definitely not welcoming was Mariners starting pitcher Luis Castillo.

The Mariners ace has been struggling for a lot of this season, but he was back in top form with a fastball sitting at 97 and gave the Jays faithful who made the trek south little to cheer about in what became a 2-1 Mariners win.

Kevin Gausman was right there with Castillo. He might have experienced a different fate on the night, but for an overturned out call at first in the third inning that would have ended the inning.

When the Mariners challenged that call on a bang-bang play at first with the speedy Julio Rodriguez running, the hosts got the only opening they would need.

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Despite a great play by third baseman Ernie Clement on the hot shot to the hot corner, the throw to first appeared to just pull Spencer Horwitz off the bag by the length of a toenail, and the call was overturned.

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Left fielder Luke Raley, who was denied extra bases in the first inning and likely two Seattle runs when Daulton Varsho ran full-speed into the wall in left and then survived the collision with the wall with ball still in glove for one of the better defensive plays you are likely to see, got a little revenge, driving in both Seattle runs in the fourth with a two-out double.

Gausman was up over 100 pitches when he registered his season-best-tying 10th strikeout of the night to end the sixth, and that was it for the Jays right-hander, who bounced back from a tough outing against the Yankees last Sunday.

After that loss to New York, Gausman talked about the need to bump up his velocity a little to make his splitter carry the zone longer. His splitter was up over two miles an hour and his fastball was back up to 96, where he sat for a lot of last season when he finished third in Cy Young voting.

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But the story of the night was Castillo, who took a bid for a no-hitter into the sixth inning, when Kevin Kiermaier timed up a fastball and drove it out of the park on a line for the only Jays run of the evening.

Castillo gave up only one more hit, a seeing-eye single up the middle to Spencer Horwitz, but Castillo would strand him and maintain the Seattle lead.

He came out for the seventh and struck out the first two to reach eight in that category but a walk to Varsho brought an end to his night as Castillo surpassed the 100-pitch mark.

The Seattle bullpen did the rest, not allowing the Jays another base runner the remainder of the night.

With the loss, the Jays fall 10 games under .500.

The Blue Jays will send Yariel Rodriguez to the mound on Saturday as the Cuban-born righty looks for his first major-league win coming off a stellar outing last Monday against the Houston Astros.

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JAYS ABOUT TO RE-STOCK

Veteran slugger Justin Turner, who has been away from the team on paternity leave for the birth of his first child, is expected back in time for the team’s game on Saturday. Turner and his wife welcomed a son into the world Thursday night, and Turner has told the team he should be back in time for Saturday’s game in Seattle.

Perhaps not as quickly, but possibly sooner than expected, could be the return of reliever Yimi Garcia.

Garcia is scheduled to throw an inning at triple-A Buffalo on Saturday and there is a belief that as long as that goes well, he could rejoin the team on their west-coast road trip.

Garcia could make a second rehab appearance on Tuesday if necessary and then make his return to the big leagues, but either way his absence isn’t expected to last much longer.

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