Miranda does part for shorthanded rotation

Despite no-decision, lefty fans 8 to show he's up to task with several starters on DL

Miranda does part for shorthanded rotation

TORONTO -- At a time when the Mariners' rotation is scrambling, Ariel Miranda stepped up and did his part Sunday, allowing just one run and three hits in five-plus innings while racking up a career-high-tying eight strikeouts.

It wasn't enough to prevent a series sweep -- Seattle fell, 3-2, as Toronto's Kevin Pillar hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth off closer Edwin Diaz -- but the Mariners know they're going to need Miranda and other starters to hold the line while Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly are all on the disabled list.

"I thought Miranda gave us a very good outing today," manager Scott Servais said. "He really battled. That team over there, even though their record is not great, they're starting to get hot and swinging the bat much better. Miranda gave us a really good effort."

The 28-year-old maneuvered through some tough situations to keep Seattle in the game early. With one out and runners on second and third in the second, he struck out Devon Travis and Ryan Goins to escape that jam. Then he did it again in the fifth, stranding runners at the corners by whiffing Darwin Barney to preserve a 1-0 lead.

"In those situations, I tried to make an adjustment and be a little more aggressive and just attack the zone," Miranda said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "And that sets up the later pitches."

At one point, Miranda struck out five straight Blue Jays. The only downside was an escalating pitch count that led to Servais pulling him in the sixth after he walked leadoff hitter Jose Bautista on his 100th pitch of the game. That walk turned out to be costly when Justin Smoak drove a two-run homer off reliever James Pazos.

Miranda K's Barney, side in 3rd

As a result, Miranda wound up with a no-decision, and he remains 3-2 with a 4.79 ERA on the year. But after only making the initial rotation because Smyly went on the disabled list in the final days of Spring Training, Miranda suddenly looms as Seattle's most stable starter.

Over their past 14 games, Mariners starters are 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA. Miranda is well aware of the injuries around him, but he said he's not putting any extra pressure on himself to carry the load.

"They're all important," Miranda said. "I wanted to go out and do my job just like I do every start. As you know, we're in a tough position with a lot of injuries right now. But I just have to go out and focus on my start and do well."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.