SEATTLE (AP)—Different night. Different motivation. Same Ichiro Suzuki.
For the second straight game, the Seattle Mariners took advantage of a shaky Baltimore bullpen, with Suzuki again providing the decisive blow in Seattle’s 5-4 win over the Orioles on Tuesday night.
Seattle scored four times in the seventh inning, and Suzuki delivered the capper—a two-out RBI double just inside the left-field line that scored Ben Broussard.
It was strikingly similar to a night earlier, when Suzuki doubled and Seattle scored four runs in the eighth inning off Baltimore’s relievers.
About the only difference was Suzuki’s motivation. On Monday, the slightly quirky outfielder said he just wanted to get home. Tuesday night, his motivation was hunger.
“Today I thought, ‘I want to hurry up and get something to eat,”’ Suzkui said through an interpreter. He quickly followed with, “That’s true.”
Whatever the motivation, Suzuki helped Seattle win its fourth-straight and move five games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2003 season.
“There is some kind of atmosphere this team has,” Suzuki said. “I’m not exactly able to put a finger on it, but we definitely have something going on.”
Seattle’s rally was courtesy of another meltdown by Baltimore’s bullpen. Seattle sent nine batters to the plate in the seventh, piecing together four hits and a pair of walks.
Meanwhile, Seattle’s bullpen was stellar yet again. Jason Davis (1-0) retired Miguel Tejada for the final out of the seventh to get his first win with Seattle and first victory since July 25, 2006, while with Cleveland.
“Our bullpen has given us a real boost through this first half and guys we’ve asked to do jobs specific jobs, they’ve done them well,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. “The whole idea of your pitching staff is to keep it close to allow your offense enough time to generate runs, and here we’ve been doing that.”
Seattle’s seventh-inning rally started with Jose Guillen’s single on the first pitch from Baltimore reliever Danys Baez. He then walked Raul Ibanez and Kenji Johjima on eight pitches to load the bases.
Jamie Walker (1-1) came in and got Jose Vidro to fly out to the warning track in right for the first out, scoring Guillen from third. But Walker also lost his command, throwing a wild pitch to Broussard that allow Ibanez to score.
“We’ve got to get some outs. That’s all there is to it,” Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said. “We are making the game a lot tougher than it is right now.”
“Today was a situation where our opponent gave us a chance to win,” Suzuki said.
Seattle’s rally ruined a solid performance by Baltimore starter Brian Burres, who allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings. Burres was shaky, throwing nearly as many balls as strikes while walking three and striking out none. But he worked out of jams in the third and fourth innings, keeping a small cheering section of fans for the Oregon native cheering until he left with two on and two out in the sixth.
Kevin Millar and Tejada both doubled twice for Baltimore, and Millar drove in a pair of runs. Millar had been hitless in his previous 10 at-bats and hitting just .178 during the last 14 games. He picked up his first RBI in seven games with his first double.
Baltimore scored all of its runs with two outs, but lost its fifth straight — its third five-game losing streak this season.
“It’s a tough period. You feel like you’re snake bit a little,” Perlozzo said.
Cha Seung Baek pitched into the sixth for Seattle and allowed three earned runs. It was the first time in his last six starts that Baek failed to pitch at least six complete innings. He struck out four and walked none.
Betancourt singled to center with one-out in the sixth, extending his hitting streak to 17 games—the longest current streak in the league.
Baltimore is 0-11 this season when scoring exactly four runs. … Twenty-two of Seattle’s last 36 runs have been scored with two outs.