TORONTO -- Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey chose his words carefully has he described his team as dysfunctional following an 8-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre.
It was the Jays' fourth straight loss. Toronto (10-21) has now lost 10 of its last 12.
"I think we're somewhat of a dysfunctional team right now," Dickey said after allowing seven runs on six hits in seven innings of work. "We're kind of searching for a way to score runs, a way to pitch well. We're doing a lot of things poorly, myself included.
"Dysfunctional in a sense that as a baseball club, on the field, we aren't doing the things that good ball clubs need to do to win ball games. As far as the clubhouse goes, we've got a group of great guys. There's chemistry in here."
The loss was the 2012 National League Cy Young winner's third straight and third home loss. Dickey lost at Citi Field in New York last season, as a member of the Mets, just three times all year.
Michael Saunders took Dickey deep twice, including a leadoff home run in the first, his second career leadoff home run and second of the season, as he led off with a home run on April 29 against Baltimore.
"I've never faced Dickey before and he started the game off with a heater for ball one," said Saunders, who finished the day 3 for 5 with 3 RBI. "After that I pretty much sat fastball. He gave me a pitch to hit and I wasn`t trying to do too much. My approach today was more like playing pepper, just trying to get the barrel on the ball."
Dustin Ackley put the game out of reach, hitting his first career grand slam in the fourth inning.
Ackley, who came in batting .395 in his last 12 games, hit Dickey's 3-and-2 pitch deep to right field with two out for his first home run of the season, giving Seattle a 5-0 lead.
"I think he threw maybe a get-me-over knuckleball because at 3-2 with the bases loaded, he tried not to walk me and I put a good swing on it," Ackley said. "It was a good pitch to hit. It wasn't one of his best knuckleballs I don't think.
"When I hit it, it was kind of disbelief at first that I hit it as well as I did."
Dickey surrendered a one-out single to Kendrys Morales to get the Mariners started. With two out, Dickey loaded the bases with back-to-back walks to Raul Ibanez and Kelly Stoppach.
"That's one of the curses about throwing the pitch that I do, if you leave it up, it's going to get hit out of the park," said Dickey. "Traditionally knuckleballers give up a few long balls every year and it just came at some crucial times today especially that 3-2 one to Ackley."
It was the second grand slam allowed by Dickey in his career.
Saunders' second home run of the game made it 6-0 in the fifth.
Stoppach made the lead 7-0 in the sixth with a RBI double to center field, scoring Ibanez from third.
Dickey (2-5), who was pitching on an extra day of rest because of mild inflammation in his back and neck, said the lone positive from the outing was that his back and neck felt better.
Toronto snapped a 23-inning scoreless streak in the seventh when Rajai Davis scored on Munenori Kawasaki's sacrifice fly.
Seattle made it 8-1 on a RBI double in the ninth by Saunders.
Hisashi Iwakuma (3-1) came into the game 0-1 in his last three starts, despite allowing only two earned runs and striking out 21 in 17 innings.
The Japanese right-hander went seven innings, allowing an earned run on five hits while striking out five. Iwakuma threw 108 pitches, 74 for strikes.
Toronto threatened in the first after a leadoff walk to Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera's single to right. Two batters later, Edwin Encarnacion hit a bloop single in shallow center, which Ackley lost in the sun, to load the bases.
But Iwakuma struck out Colby Rasmus and Rajai Davis to end the threat.
"With what we're going through, it magnifies it," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "That's where you're looking for a big hit somewhere, a runner up the gap. It gets you right back in the game, but it didn't happen. You still got to compete for nine innings.
"The game of baseball is cruel. It doesn't let you out. Only the strong survive."
Added Mariners manager Eric Wedge: "I was as impressed as anything with that first inning. You talk about big-league pitching, that's big-league pitching right there. To get out of that the way he did, especially early in the game, it helps to, not necessarily set the tone, but push your squad in the right direction early."
With runners in scoring position again in the third inning, Rasmus flied out to Endy Chavez in left field to end the threat.
Responding to a CBSSports.com report that there is selfishness in the Blue Jays clubhouse, Gibbons said: "I think I've got a pretty good pulse of that room in there, but let's face it, in baseball that's not unusual. It is a selfish business and you play as a team, that's no different anywhere else.
"But I don't think that's an issue. I don't see a problem out there."
NOTES: Mariners OF Michael Morse was the only Mariner with any experience against R.A. Dickey entering Saturday, going 7-for-27 against the knuckleballer. ... Justin Smoak missed his second game of the season Saturday. ... Toronto has been outscored, 17-2, since its last victory on April 30. ... Blue Jays OF Melky Cabrera was the team's designated hitter Saturday. Manager John Gibbons said Cabrera is battling soreness in his legs. ... Entering Saturday, the Blue Jays had a .353 winning percentage at home. Only the Houston Astros are worse at home. ... Friday night's shutout of the Blue Jays by the Mariners was the first time Toronto has been blanked at home by Seattle since June 1, 1987. ... The Blue Jays announced Saturday that pitcher Justin Germano has been sent outright to Triple-A Buffalo.