Orioles 5, Mariners 2

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SEATTLE (AP)—The Baltimore Orioles’ rotation, which was supposed to be their weakness, is starting to sparkle.

Erik Bedard got his first major league win, and Melvin Mora hit an RBI double in Baltimore’s 5-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.

Jay Gibbons homered in a three-run seventh, and Luis Matos also connected for Baltimore.

In winning their last three games, Orioles starters have allowed only four earned runs in 22 1-3 innings to lower their ERA from 6.36 to 5.82.

“When they can get deep into the game like that, I think it gives the whole team a lift,” first-year manager Lee Mazzilli said. “We’re counting on these young guys.”

The 25-year-old Bedard followed Daniel Cabrera’s 7-2 win in Seattle on Tuesday night and Sidney Ponson’s 4-0 victory over Anaheim on Sunday.

“We knew when they came out of camp, they were going to hit a couple of bumps in the road along the way and they have,” Mazzilli said. “But I think they’re learning from this and they’ve changed their approach to get deeper in the game.”

The Orioles won for the second straight night at Safeco Field, where they are 4-19 since the ballpark opened in July 1999. They also beat the Mariners for the fourth time in five games this season.

The last-place Mariners lost for the ninth time in 10 games and fell 13 games under .500 for the first time since Sept. 12, 1998.

“For me, it’s frustrating, really frustrating,” pitcher Ryan Franklin said. “We’ve never lost like this here and it’s getting old.”

Bedard (1-1), a left-hander making his sixth career start, pitched 6 2-3 innings. He gave up two runs on four hits and four walks, striking out seven.

“I felt good the whole game,” he said. “I was throwing fastballs on both sides of the plate. I was throwing strikes with curveballs here and there, and just kept them off balance.”

Bedard spent last season on the disabled list after having Tommy John surgery on his elbow in September 2002. He was a sixth-round draft pick in 1999.

“It feels good,” Bedard said. “Hopefully, there’s more to come. So I can’t be too excited about the first win.”

Mora, leading the AL with a .383 batting average, went 2-for-3 with two doubles. He’s hit safely in 19 of his past 23 games, batting .437 (38-for-87).

Batting third in the lineup in front of new addition Miguel Tejada, Mora leads the team with seven homers and ranks second with 29 RBIs.

“The difference is the pitchers don’t want to face Tejada,” Mora said.

Jerry Hairston opened the sixth with a single and scored on Mora’s double over third base off Franklin (2-4) for a 1-0 lead.

Baltimore scored three runs on four straight hits off Franklin in the seventh to make it 4-0. Gibbons hit his fifth homer, Matos and Larry Bigbie followed with doubles for another run, and Hairston added an RBI single to chase Franklin.

The Mariners ruined Bedard’s shutout bid in the seventh on Rich Aurilia’s RBI double. Jolbert Cabrera’s infield single off Mike DeJean drove in Aurilia for Seattle’s second run, but DeJean struck out Edgar Martinez with the bases loaded to end the threat.

Martinez was called out by plate umpire Larry Young and reacted with a rare emotional outburst, holding the bat over his head and jumping.

Manager Bob Melvin came out and got between Martinez and Young.

“I’m not going to say it was a ball or a strike,” Martinez said.

Matos homered off Eddie Guardado in the ninth, and Jorge Julio got three outs for his seventh save in eight chances. He struck out Martinez with two on to end it.

Franklin pitched 6 1-3 innings, allowing four runs and nine hits.

Notes

Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-3, snapping a 16-game hitting streak. … Mariners 1B John Olerud, who was 0-for-4 Tuesday night and is hitting .238 with one homer and eight RBIs, was given the night off. … Seattle reliever J.J. Putz, who made his 10th appearance of the season, has notallowed an earned run in 13 innings.

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