TORONTO -- Earlier this week it was the offense, but on Friday night it was the defense that let the Blue Jays down when they needed it the most.
A pair of ninth-inning errors in the infield took what appeared to be a surefire victory away from Toronto and instead sent the club to its fourth consecutive defeat.
The final blow came during the 10th inning when left-hander Luis Perez surrendered a grand slam to Michael Saunders en route to a 9-5 loss to the Mariners at Rogers Centre.
"You give them chances, you give them opportunities, and that's what this game is about, getting chances," said BLue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie, who made a throwing error with two outs in the ninth when the Blue Jays were ahead 5-4. "You give other teams chances to get back in the game like that. I take full responsibility for that. That game should be over.
"Everyone should be out celebrating a win, instead we're all a little bit down after that one, including myself. You've got to suck it up and take it for what is."
The Blue Jays were one out away from snapping their three-game losing streak. Right-hander Francisco Cordero, who is filling in as closer for the injured Sergio Santos, got the grounder he was looking for off the bat of infielder Kyle Seager.
The ball bounced toward Lawrie, who fielded it cleanly. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, Lawrie's throw fell well short of first base and Adam Lind was unable to come up with a very difficult hop. That allowed the inning to continue and another defensive miscue ensued.
Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia attempted to pick off Munenori Kawasaki at first base, but instead his throw sailed well over first and allowed Seattle's pinch runner to advance all the way to third. Cordero eventually surrendered a game-tying single to John Jaso and while the go-ahead run was then thrown out at home on the play, the damage had already been done.
"Definitely gave one away tonight," said Lawrie, who committed his fifth error of the season the play.
Farrell remains confident in Lawrie's ability. Farrell wasn't quite as easy on Arencibia, though.
Farrell felt Arencibia's attempted pickoff never should have taken place and that his second-year catcher had forced the issue a little too much. Arencibia, though, felt it was a makeable play and, while accepting responsibility for the error, he added it was a throw he'd make again, given the circumstances.
"I play the game to win," Arencibia said. "In that situation, we're behind in the count right there, guy's taking a big secondary [lead], I tried to get him out, tried to end the game. I tried to help out a pitcher.
"Is it a tough situation? Yeah, but I don't shy away from it. If I make that throw, get the guy out, game's over, that's it, don't give the guy a chance. I don't play scared. I play aggressive. Sometimes you get burned, but sometimes it works. Today, it obviously backfired."
Perez, who entered the game having not surrendered a run in 12 2/3 innings this season, loaded the bases with one out for Saunders. Seattle's center fielder fell behind in the count 1-2, but then sent a sky-high fly ball over the wall in right for the first grand slam of his career and second homer of the game.
"He threw me a first-pitch changeup and you don't see too many lefty-on-lefty changeups like that, especially in that situation," said Saunders, who grew up in Victoria, B.C.
The late-inning dramatics overshadowed what had been an impressive early showing by Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero. The lefty cruised through most of the game and carried a no-hitter into the top of the sixth until it was broken up by a leadoff double off the bat of Dustin Ackley.
Romero carried a 3-1 lead into the seventh, but was unable to close the door, as he surrendered a solo home run to Jesus Montero and an RBI double to outfielder Casper Wells. Toronto's No. 1 starter took a no decision after allowing three runs -- two earned -- on four hits, three walks and five strikeouts, while throwing 75 of his 117 pitches for strikes.
Toronto momentarily took the lead in the eighth on a solo home run by Eric Thames and a sacrifice fly by Arencibia. The old cliche in baseball is that it's a game of inches and that was all it took for that two-run lead to evaporate in the following frame.
If Lawrie's throw is a little higher and Arencibia's throw is a little lower, there would have been a different result, but instead the Blue Jays will now try to bounce back from another difficult defeat.
"It happens. He makes that play every time," Romero said of Lawrie. "He's disappointed. We're all disappointed. We go from having a two-run lead to kind of just falling all the way down that inning. It's a tough loss. All we can do is just come back tomorrow and be ready to play. That's the beauty of this sport. You come back. You just have to come back ready and focused."