Orioles 6, Mariners 3

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SEATTLE (AP)—Patience paid off for the Baltimore Orioles against rookie phenom Felix Hernandez.

Bruce Chen recovered from a shaky start and Baltimore roughed up Hernandez in a 6-3 victory Sunday over the Seattle Mariners.

The 19-year-old right-hander, who had a 1.59 ERA through his first seven starts, gave up five runs in the second inning. Bernie Castro and Melvin Mora each drove in two.

“To our credit, we laid off some pitches,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “They all had heard the hype, too. There was nothing really said about it, but you could tell in the dugout that they were going to take the game seriously.”

The first three Baltimore batters reached safely in the second on a single by Jay Gibbons and walks to B.J. Surhoff and Alejandro Freire before David Newhan hit a sacrifice fly. After Sal Fasano struck out, Brian Roberts walked to load the bases again and Castro sliced a two-run double to left.

Mora followed with a two-run single—he was thrown out in a rundown between first and second, but the Orioles had a 5-3 lead.

“He’s nasty. But he just faced good hitters,” Mora said. “He pitches like a veteran guy, but the thing is, sometimes you need to know about the other team.”

Hernandez (3-3) had trouble with umpire Bruce Froemming’s strike zone. The rookie entered with only 10 walks in 51 innings but had three in the second inning alone and five in seven innings overall.

“He’s not wild. He was around the strike zone,” Mora said. “It’s just that sometimes the umpire doesn’t give him what he wants.”

Mariners manager Mike Hargrove didn’t want to talk about balls and strikes.

“I’m not going to talk about the umpire. Let’s talk about something we can control,” Hargrove said. “The first two innings were very non-typical of his outings this year.”

Hernandez allowed six runs and six hits. He said he thought the strike zone “was a little bit smaller today.”

The Mariners scored three unearned runs in the first off Chen (12-9), who pitched six solid innings. Ichiro Suzuki, who had seven hits in 13 at-bats during the series, opened with a soft single. Chen then hit Jamal Strong on the left hand with a pitch. Strong stayed in the game, but came out in the second inning with a broken hand.

Richie Sexson walked to load the bases with one out. Adrian Beltre then chopped a ball to the left of the mound, and Chen bounced a hurried throw to catcher Fasano for an error as Suzuki scored.

With two outs, Chen walked Jeremy Reed to force in Strong. A wild pitch made it 3-0, but Hernandez couldn’t hold the lead.

Chen settled down after his teammates scored five runs in the second.

“That really helped me. I couldn’t let them down,” he said.

The Mariners nearly tied it in the second. Suzuki reached on a two-out single and Raul Ibanez lofted a high fly to right. Gibbons tracked it into the corner and caught it at the wall.

Chen allowed four more hits after the first, but no runner advanced past second.

“Bruce just did a tremendous job coming back and settling down the rest of the way,” Perlozzo said.

Todd Williams worked 1 2-3 scoreless innings before B.J. Ryan got three outs for his 31st save in 36 chances, striking out Beltre with two on to end it.

Hernandez retired 11 straight until Newhan’s seventh-inning double. Fasano made it 6-3 with an RBI single just under Beltre’s glove at third base, scoring Newhan.


Greg Dobbs replaced Strong in left field. It was only the second time Dobbs played left in his brief career. The other was Sept. 3 against the Angels. … Strong’s injury will take four to six weeks to heal, ending his season. … Seattle’s Yorvit Torrealba hit a fourth-inning single, ending an 0-for-24 skid. He followed that with a sixth-inning double. … The Orioles took two of three in Seattle and won the season series 7-3. The Orioles allowed only 23 earned runs in 87 innings, a 2.38 ERA, in those 10 games. … The Mariners stranded 11 runners. … Hernandez had not allowed more than three runs in a game. He gave up three in a seven-inning outing Aug. 26 against the White Sox.

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