Mariners 6, Orioles 2

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- Not even Joe Saunders' former teammates could end the Seattle Mariners pitcher's inexplicable run of success at Safeco Field on Monday.

Baltimore became the latest victim of Saunders, who pitched the Mariners' first complete game of the season to give Seattle its third consecutive win, 6-2, in front of a record-low crowd of 9,818 at Safeco Field.

It ended Baltimore's eight-game winning streak against Seattle while giving the Orioles (15-11) back-to-back defeats for the first time since April 7-8. The Mariners (12-16) have won three consecutive games for the first time this season.

Saunders, who has a 12.51 ERA on the road this season, gave up his first two earned runs at home but allowed just four hits in his first complete game in more than a year. After Matt Wieters hit a two-run home run off Saunders in the fourth, the 31-year-old left-hander retired the final 16 batters he faced -- striking out Adam Jones to finish off the ninth. The only baserunner Saunders allowed over the final five innings came to lead off the seventh, when he walked Chris Davis before a double-play ended that threat.

Saunders now has eight complete games in his career, with the last coming on April 27, 2012.

The former Oriole has now gone 8-0 with a 1.75 ERA in 12 career starts at Safeco, mostly as a visiting pitcher. He beat the Mariners 3-1 with an eight-inning, one-run performance here while with Baltimore last September.

Saunders got plenty of offense Monday from a Mariners team that had 11 hits, including 10 off Baltimore starter Zach Britton. Seattle leadoff hitter Michael Saunders led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run and added another RBI during the Mariners' three-run sixth.

Britton, who was making his season debut, gave up six runs in six innings of work.

Britton's outing was briefly interrupted by a bizarre sequence in the bottom of the sixth, during which he was hit in the pitching shoulder by a ball thrown by home plate umpire Alan Porter. After giving up a leadoff single to Justin Smoak, Britton wasn't looking when Porter threw a replacement ball toward him and hit the left-hander in the shoulder.

Orioles trainers came out to look at Britton, who was wincing in pain but eventually stayed in the game. He faced five more batters in that inning, eventually giving up four hits and three runs in what would be his final inning before the bullpen took over with the Orioles trailing 6-2.

A few hours after being activated from the 15-day disabled list, Michael Saunders announced his return with a solo home run on Britton's second pitch of the game.

Saunders hit a 1-0 pitch 401 feet over the fence in left-center field, giving Seattle a 1-0 lead.

That held up until the top of the fourth, when Wieters hit a 2-2 pitch over the left-field fence. The two-out, two-run homer gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead and ended Joe Saunders' 17-inning streak without allowing an earned run at home.

The Mariners got to Britton, who was making his first start since being called up from Triple-A Norfolk last week, in the fourth inning. Seattle had three hits and two walks in that inning, scoring twice to take a 3-2 lead before Britton got Kyle Seager to fly out for the third out with the bases loaded.

NOTES: Mariners manager Eric Wedge announced that starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma would get a couple of extra days off between starts in an effort to heal the blister on his pitching hand. Iwakuma, who pitched six innings without allowing an earned run in Sunday's win over Los Angeles, will take advantage of a Thursday off day and is scheduled to be back on the mound this Sunday at Toronto. Joe Saunders will pitch Saturday on his regular five days rest. ... The Mariners activated Michael Saunders before the game. Saunders, who had been on the disabled list with a strained shoulder, hit leadoff and played center field in Monday's game. To make room on the roster, Seattle sent outfielder Carlos Peguero back to Triple-A Tacoma. ... The first-inning homer by Seattle's Michael Saunders marked the fourth time this season that the Mariners have led off a game with a home run. ... Minor-league catching coordinator John Stearns served as the Mariners' third base coach on Monday. Jeff Datz, the usual third-base coach, announced over the weekend that he has been diagnosed with cancer and that he'll probably be unavailable for games periodically this season.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball
View Comments