The sting of being owned for six innings by onetime Mariners starter Brandon Morrow was bad enough.
But the Mariners were feeling an entirely different kind of hurt once this 5-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night was done. Schenectady native Casper Wells was sporting a gauze pack in his nostrils postgame after a Morrow pitch up and inside left him dazed and bloodied on the ground in the sixth inning.
X-rays taken found no broken bones after the pitch struck Wells on the tip of his nose. But his Mariners teammates couldn’t recover from the other blows delivered by Morrow in a season-high 12-strikeout performance or some of Toronto’s home run bats early on.
“It just felt like my nose fell off pretty much,” said Wells, who is listed as day-to-day. “I had a little bit of a headache. I couldn’t see, which was scary. My eyes got all watered up and I couldn’t see what was going on. It felt like it squared me up right in the face. But watching the replay, I kind of got out of the way.
“It was just really scary more than anything. Coming right at my face and I just couldn’t get out of the way of it.”
It was a tough way for Wells to see his streak of home runs in four consecutive games come to an end.
The Blue Jays had little trouble hitting home runs for a third straight game here, livening up the Toronto fans in the crowd of 26,579 at Safeco Field with three blasts off Mariners starter Blake Beavan before the game was even four innings old.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a solo shot in the second inning, Adam Lind added a three-run blast in the third and Colby Rasmus added a final homer in the fourth to close out the scoring by Toronto. Lind’s shot was especially backbreaking, given how it came on an 0-2 fastball Beavan left in the zone.
“It was just a terrible pitch,” Beavan said. “I did him a favor by giving him a fastball right over the plate instead of hitting my spot. That’s kind of been the case my last two starts. Just missing location too much.”
Morrow had no such troubles. The locals here hadn’t seen Morrow pitch like this since his debut as a Mariners starter against the New York Yankees back in September of 2008, when he had a no-hitter through 7 2/3 innings.
His future in Seattle seemed to hold much promise. But the Mariners dealt him to Toronto in December 2009 for relief pitcher Brandon League and outfield prospect Johermyn Chavez.
Morrow had faced the Mariners for the first time just last month, recording a victory with seven innings of three-run ball.
“It was fun to come back,” Morrow said. “I enjoyed my three days in the city, getting to walk around and stuff. I really liked Seattle when I was here. And then, I thought I was going to have a pretty good game when they announced that it was Diabetes Awareness Night when I was warming up.”
Morrow said he’s matured a lot as a pitcher since he left and that the “little extra incentive” he had pitching here this time wasn’t about lingering bitterness.
“I think I’ve changed a lot,” he said. “I don’t think my pitching style has changed, necessarily. But I think that my ability to do what I want with the ball has improved.”
Morrow admits he didn’t always pitch to the best of his abilities here. But the nearly two-year removal since the trade has eased his perspective and he feels the deal worked out well for both sides.
The Mariners didn’t get a hit off Morrow until Mike Carp singled with two outs in the fourth, extending his hitting streak to 17 games. Seattle didn’t score until Franklin Gutierrez doubled home Ichiro in the sixth and final inning worked by Morrow.
The only Mariners highlight the rest of the way was newcomer Chance Ruffin — acquired from Detroit as the player-to-be-named in the Doug Fister deal — making his debut and retiring the side in the eighth in relief.
“Morrow was good,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He had four pitches working and he had a live fastball. ... So, you have to tip your cap.”