Mariners 3, Orioles 0

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SEATTLE (AP)—The Seattle Mariners think they have a legitimate Cy Young Award candidate in Jamie Moyer.

The Baltimore Orioles won’t disagree.

Moyer beat Baltimore for the 14th consecutive time—the longest current streak by a pitcher against one team—and the Mariners completed a three-game series sweep over the Orioles with a 3-0 victory on Sunday.

“Before the game, when we were talking, I told you if he has command of his pitches we were in for a long day,” Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. “And he was in command.”

The Mariners stayed two games behind Oakland in the AL West and moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Boston in the wild-card race.

The Orioles lost their season-worst eighth straight game for the second time in August. They’ve been outscored 45-12 during their current losing skid.

Moyer (17-6) allowed five hits and one walk, and struck out four in 7 2-3 innings as the Mariners got their 15th shutout—tops in the majors—while the Orioles were shut out for the 10th time.

Seattle manager Bob Melvin was asked if he would put Moyer’s name on the lists of candidates for the AL Cy Young.

“I don’t know why you wouldn’t,” Melvin said. “For me, it’s been that way all year that he’s been up there.”

Shigetoshi Hasegawa pitched the ninth for his 14th save in as many chances.

Moyer, 40, dazzled the Orioles with his collection of slower-than-normal fastballs, curveballs and changeups.

“He’s definitely one of the top pitchers in this league,” Baltimore catcher Brook Fordyce said. “He has a tremendous changeup. He spots it and takes a little off. It’s the same arm angle, the same spot as his fastball. He’s been doing it for years.”

Melvin knew the Orioles were in trouble after the left-hander struck out Brian Roberts to start the game.

“From the very beginning, you could see he had his good stuff today,” Melvin said. “Right from the outset, I knew he was going to have a good game.”

Moyer has compiled his streak against the Orioles, who he pitched for from 1993-95, in 18 starts since he lost in his first-ever start against Baltimore on May 30, 1989.

He’s 11-0 against the Orioles since coming to Seattle in a trade with Boston on July 30, 1996.

Moyer, an All-Star for the first time this season, has the longest winning streak in the majors since Randy Johnson won 15 straight decisions over Milwaukee before he lost to the Brewers in April.

And Moyer’s 14 victories in a row over Baltimore is the longest in the AL since Dave Stewart won 14 consecutive starts against Seattle from Aug. 13, 1986-Aug. 1, 1990.

The Orioles beat Moyer in Game 2 of the 1997 AL divisional series against the Mariners.

Moyer said he can’t explain his mastery over the Orioles, but it doesn’t necessarily mean more confidence for him when he goes against Baltimore.

“There’s a lot of faces in that lineup that I haven’t seen before,” Moyer said after his first start against Baltimore this season. “The success goes over a long period of time, but it’s not the same team I’ve been facing. But I’ve been fortunate to have some of the same results.”

The Mariners broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the sixth on RBI singles by Carlos Guillen and John Olerud off Jason Johnson (10-6).

Edgar Martinez opened Seattle’s sixth with a single and went to third on Bret Boone’s single. Guillen’s single scored Martinez, but right fielder Jay Gibbons threw out Boone at third.

Guillen went to second on Gibbons’ throw and scored on Olerud’s single.

The Mariners added a run in the eighth on an RBI single by Mark McLemore.

In the fourth, Gibbons made a leaping catch above the fence to rob McLemore of a three-run homer for the final out of the inning. Olerud singled and Mike Cameron walked with two outs before McLemore’s flyball out.

Johnson, who lost to Seattle for the second time this season, pitched six innings and gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks, with a career-high eight strikeouts.

The Mariners finished August with a 14-15 record, while Oakland went 20-9 in the month to turn a four-game deficit into a two-game lead.

Martinez, playing with a broken big toe after fouling a ball off his left foot Aug. 23, said it was important for the Mariners to sweep the Orioles.

“We needed a big series and we had a good series against the Orioles,” he said. “They are playing really good right now. They have great pitching andthey’re a good ballclub. I knew it was going to be tough.”

Notes

Moyer is 181-131 in his career, including 115-54 with the Mariners. … The Mariners are 17-3 at Safeco Field against the Orioles. … The Orioles are 4-16 since getting within two games of .500 on Aug. 10. … Johnson is 1-6 inhis career against Seattle.

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