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Mariners 3, Orioles 2

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Seattle's Joe Saunders allowed two runs in six innings and Henry Blanco hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh, leading the Mariners to a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles before an announced 30,759 on Sunday.

With the victory, the Mariners took the series and finished 2-4 on their six-game East Coast road trip. The Orioles have lost seven of their past 11 and trail Cleveland by 1 1/2 games for the final Wild Card spot.

Saunders (10-10), who was traded to the Orioles last August for their playoff run, allowed base runners each inning but kept his former team 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. He allowed two runs and eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks in six innings.

Danny Farquhar picked up his second consecutive save with a scoreless ninth.

Raul Ibanez went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI for Seattle. Blanco, the backup catcher who entered the game batting just .170, hit his third home run of the season on a 91 mph fastball from Chen with two outs.

Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen (6-4) allowed three runs and five hits with five strikeouts and three walks in seven innings. He has lasted seven or more innings in four of his past five starts.

Danny Valencia, called up from Triple-A Norfolk before the game, went 2-for-4 with a homer and snapped an 0-for-23 skid that began June 17 with the big league club. Nick Markakis also picked up two hits for Baltimore.

The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the second when Michael Morse and Ibanez led off with back-to-back doubles. Baltimore had several opportunities to tie the score in the opening five innings, but Saunders managed to pitch out of the jam each time.

Valencia finally delivered with a two-run homer in the sixth that provided a 2-1 lead. The Mariners responded in the seventh and retook the lead on Blanco's two-run shot.

NOTES: RHP Stephen Pryor was shut down for the season after an MRI revealed further injury to his triceps, Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said. ... Mariners manager Eric Wedge, who is still recovering from a mild stroke, will not be ready to return to the dugout when the team opens a six-game homestand on Monday. ... Orioles RHP Steve Johnson was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after being activated Friday from the 15-day disabled list. ... 3B Wilson Betemit will serve as the designated hitter for the Gulf Coast Orioles on Tuesday to begin his rehab assignment for an injury to his posterior cruciate ligament.
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