Orioles 5, Mariners 2
BALTIMORE (AP)—The injuries keep mounting for the Baltimore Orioles.
So do the victories.
Melvin Mora, Rafael Palmeiro and Miguel Tejada homered to back a strong pitching performance by Daniel Cabrera, and Baltimore capped a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners with a 5-2 victory Thursday night.
Mora had three hits for the Orioles, whose eighth win in 11 games moved them a season-best 14 games over .500 (30-16). Baltimore leads the AL East by a season-high 4 1/2 games.
The day started on a down note for Baltimore, which put left-handed starter Erik Bedard on the 15-day disabled list with a strained knee ligament. Bedard (5-1, 2.08 ERA) joins starting outfielder Luis Matos and starting catcher Javy Lopez on the DL.
But the Orioles have proven to be resilient. They went 9-7 while Sammy Sosa was on the DL, and swept the Mariners after Lopez left in the third inning of the opener.
“What are we going to do, quit?” said second baseman Brian Roberts, who missed the middle game of the series with a bruised knee. “You’ve got to play. We’re doing what we need to do to win. You’re going to go through stretches where you don’t have everybody you need, but we’ve got guys stepping up and doing an awesome job.”
Guys like Palmeiro, who’s hitting .390 over his last 13 games.
“Raffy’s an important part of that lineup right now, and for him to get going now, swinging the bat the way he is, is going to pick up some of the slack with Javy out,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said.
Baltimore has won eight in a row at Camden Yards against the Mariners, who have lost six straight and 10 of 11 on the road under former Orioles manager Mike Hargrove.
Cabrera (4-3) allowed one run and three hits in seven innings before leaving with a 3-1 lead. The right-hander struck out eight and walked two.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen Cabrera since spring training of ’03 and he certainly throws the ball very well,” Hargrove said. “He was throwing the ball 95 to 99, and once you got past the second inning, he started getting his breaking ball over, which made him double nasty.”
Seattle starter Ryan Franklin (2-6) gave up three runs and eight hits over seven innings but fell to 0-4 lifetime against Baltimore.
“Here’s Franklin throwing another good ballgame and we can’t generate any offense for him,” Hargrove said. “I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that the other guy was on the mound and he had outstanding stuff.”
After Cabrera left, Jorge Julio struck out Richie Sexson with two outs and runners at the corners in the eighth before Tejada hit a two-run homer off Shigetoshi Hasegawa in the bottom half to make it 5-1.
Asked to explain the Orioles’ resiliency, Mazzilli said, “Chemistry, I think, is a big thing. And good pitching.”
Seattle rookie Jeremy Reed hit his first major league homer with two outs in the ninth.
“Obviously, you want to get the first one when the team’s hot and you’re winning,” Reed said. “That’s the way I would’ve liked for it to come. But the first one, it’s a thrill.”
All of Baltimore’s runs came via the home run. Mora hit a two-run drive in the first inning and Palmeiro added a solo shot in the sixth. Palmeiro has 51 career homers against Seattle, 16 more than any other player.
“He’s a Mariner killer,” Franklin said. “He’s got me a few other times, but I wasn’t going to walk him. I’m like, here, hit it if you can. And he did.”
Cabrera allowed only one baserunner until Reed hit a double with two outs in the fifth, the Mariners’ first hit. Miguel Olivo followed with a pop-up.
Palmeiro restored the two-run cushion in the Orioles’ half with his 557th career homer, the sixth this season and second in two games.
The Mariners got runners on first and second in the seventh before Cabrera completed his night by retiring Olivo on a grounder to short.
Roberts went 1-for-3 with a walk to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games. … Franklin has yielded a team-high 11 homers. … The Orioles called up RHP Hayden Penn to replace Bedard on the roster. Penn will make his major league debut Saturday night against Detroit.