Mariners 3, Orioles 2
Olerud’s two-run single capped a three-run rally in the ninth inning and gave the Mariners a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
The Mariners won for only the second time in 10 games. If Seattle goes on to reach the playoffs, Olerud’s hit will almost certainly be remembered as a turning point.
“We’ll see. I hope so,” said Olerud, the team’s most understated player. “We want to get this turned around as soon as possible, get on a good winning streak. Hopefully, it’s a game that turns things around.”
Baltimore rookie Eric DuBose took a one-hit shutout into the ninth.
“DuBose was absolutely outstanding,” Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. “All of a sudden in the ninth inning, they got patient. They hadn’t been patient all night long.”
DuBose gave up a leadoff single to Ichiro Suzuki and walked Mike Cameron. Hargrove wasn’t going to let DuBose face the winning run, so Edgar Martinez singled up the middle off reliever Jorge Julio (0-6), scoring Suzuki.
Pinch-runner Mark McLemore stole second and, after Bret Boone struck out, the Orioles intentionally walked Carlos Guillen and brought in lefty B.J. Ryan to face the left-handed hitting Olerud. He hit a grounder at second baseman Brian Roberts, but the ball rolled past for the winning hit.
“I could see it going toward Roberts, and you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Olerud said. “If he catches it, it’s a double-play ball.
“Over the course of this streak, it seems like any time a play could go either way it seems it’s gone the other way. It’s nice to get a break,” he added.
Roberts said the ball “might have skipped a little.”
“It hit in the dirt but it skipped a little lower than I thought it was going to,” he said. “You just go on your reactions and hope it gets in your glove.”
Cameron came in from third and McLemore raced home from second as the Mariners celebrated. With the victory, Seattle remained two games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West and a half-game back of Boston in the wild-card race.
Jay Gibbons and Tony Batista homered to give Baltimore a 2-0 lead, and DuBose looked great for eight outstanding innings. He walked two and struck out three, holding Seattle to Dan Wilson’s third-inning double until the ninth.
“He threw a gem,” Cameron said. “It was a very good job.”
Gibbons put the Orioles ahead 1-0 in the second with a first-pitch home run to center, breaking an 0-for-13 skid. Batista hit another in the sixth, sending a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right-center.
Guillen reached on an error in the fifth and Winn walked, along with Wilson the only Seattle baserunners until the ninth.
Franklin threw 7 1-3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He gave up both Baltimore home runs, boosting his season total to 32—the most in the majors.
DuBose was making his fifth major league start. He looked like a veteran, through, using a slow-breaking curve reminiscent of the stuff thrown by Seattle’s crafty Jamie Moyer. Until the ninth, he faced only three over the minimum.
“That guy threw more changeups than Jamie Moyer,” Cameron said. “He was very good. We hadn’t seen him before and he did a very good job.”
The Mariners tried everything to break up their recent skid.
Manager Bob Melvin shuffled the lineup, moving Cameron up four spots to No. 2 and swapping cleanup hitter Martinez and Boone in the order. They wore dark navy game jerseys, taking the field to AC/DC’s “Back in Black” blaring on the loudspeakers.
Even their frustrated but enthusiastic fans tried to get something going.
A chant of “Let’s Go Mariners!” broke out behind the Seattle dugout with Guillen batting in the seventh. With the next batter, Olerud, at the plate, the cheer had spread to a section on the opposite side of the field.
It didn’t work. They each grounded out.
Mariners SS Rey Sanchez missed his second straight game with a strained left hamstring. … Batista is 5-for-12 with three homers lifetime against Franklin. … Boone, a Gold Glove 2B last season, bobbled a grounder by Roberts leading off the game. It was only Boone’s fifth error in 132 games but his second in two days. … Suzuki went 1-for-4 and is 2-for-17 on the currenthomestand.