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Struggling Blue Jays hope to get on track against Mariners

Already 10 games under .500 barely a month into the season, the Toronto Blue Jays try to bring a stop to a three-game slide Saturday afternoon as they clash with the Seattle Mariners in the second of a three- game set at Rogers Centre.

A mere 6-11 at home in 2013, the Jays find themselves 10 1/2 games off the pace in the American League East after bowing to the Mariners in the series opener on Friday, 4-0, for the club's seventh loss in the last eight games.

Kyle Seager accounted for three of the eight hits produced by Seattle last night, belting his fourth home run of the season as he knocked in a pair. Also going deep for the visitors was Jason Bay with his third of the campaign.

Seattle starter Felix Hernandez notched his fourth win in six decisions as he threw eight shutout innings, allowing five hits while striking out seven.

"He's special. He goes about his business," Seager said of Hernandez. "Tonight, you give him a couple runs, and you know he's going to take care of the rest.

"There is really nothing he can't do out there on the mound."

On the other side, Ricky Romero lasted just four innings for the hosts, permitting three runs on three hits and a trio of walks, while fanning four, as he suffered the loss.

No one on the Jays had more than one hit. Among those in the starting lineup, only Colby Rasmus (.255) is batting above .240 at the moment, with the team as a whole placing last in all of baseball with an average of just .226 through 30 games.

Set to make his seventh appearance of the season this afternoon for the Mariners on the mound is Hisashi Iwakuma. The second-year hurler won two of his first three outings of 2013 but has since been dealt one loss and a couple of no-decisions.

Most recently the right-hander took the hill against the Angels last weekend and made it through six innings, permitting just one unearned run on three hits, while striking out eight in what turned into a 2-1 home win for Seattle.

Iwakuma, who is carrying a mere 1.67 ERA and has 37 strikeouts against five walks over the course of 37 2/3 innings, registered one win against Toronto during his rookie campaign.

As for the home team, R.A. Dickey tries to halt a two-game slide with his confounding knuckleball.

The right-hander, who began his career in the American League with the Texas Rangers in 2001 and turned himself into the 2012 Cy Young Award winner in the NL with the Mets before heading to Canada, last pitched on Sunday versus the Yankees in New York where he was tagged for three runs on four hits -- two home runs -- over the course of seven innings, his longest outing of the campaign thus far.

Dickey has a career record of 3-1 with a 4.43 in nine all-time appearances against Seattle.

The Mariners posted a 6-3 series advantage last season against Toronto, although the teams did split the six meetings played at Rogers Centre.