SEATTLE, WA — Coming into the final series of their west coast trip, the Orioles looked to make some progress in their wildcard pursuit. However, the competition would prove far from easy as the Mariners find themselves in the middle of the same fight as the O’s.
Overall inconsistencies would end up plaguing the Orioles once again, just like they have all season. It seems like the Orioles pitching and offense could not get in sync during the road trip. If the pitching staff turned in a gem, the offense would fall non-existent. If the offense was on fire, the pitchers would implode.
The Orioles offense put up 11 runs in Monday night’s series opener thanks to four home runs, including a grand slam from Manny Machado. Tim Beckham got the scoring started by launching a leadoff home run in the first inning. The Mariners answered in the bottom half of the inning with a run of their own, but the Orioles offense was ready to explode in the second.
The Orioles scored two runs at the beginning of the second thanks to a Chris Davis double and a fielder’s choice from Caleb Joseph. After loading the bases, Machado put the O’s up 7-1 with his second grand slam of the road trip. The scoring did not stop there. Davis added another RBI in the fifth while Seth Smith and Trey Mancini hit a pair of home runs to put the game out of reach.
Kevin Gausman took this large lead and maintained it over the course of seven innings, exiting with a 11-2 lead. This was a bit of a bounce-back performance for Gausman. After giving up just two runs over the span of four starts, the 26-year-old pitcher had a rough outing against the Angels. Monday’s performance brought Gausman’s ERA back down to 5.08, the lowest its been since April.
The Orioles offense was far less successful in Tuesday’s game, generating just one run. That run came on a solo homer by Jonathan Schoop in the first inning. The O’s could not put anything together from there. The Mariners were not on fire by any means, but they were able to produce some runs on their way to a 3-1 victory.
A solo home run by Nelson Cruz put Seattle on the board in the fourth, while Jean Segura and Robinson Cano brought in the go-ahead runs in the fifth. Andrew Albers got the start for the Mariners and managed to make it through five innings, giving up just one run on six hits. After his exit, four relievers entered the game for Seattle and not one of them surrendered a base runner.
This set up a rubber match for Wednesday afternoon. Ubaldo Jimenez got the start for the Orioles and tried to continue his streak of quality starts. Unfortunately, that did not happen. The veteran starter got chased after giving up six runs in 4.1 innings.
When it came to the offense, both teams went back-and-forth, trading runs and the lead. Beckham started the game with his second leadoff home run of the series. The Mariners found themselves up 3-1 at the end of the fourth.
The O’s bounced back in the top of the fifth thanks to a wild pitch, a triple by Craig Gentry, and a single by Beckham. The three-run inning put the Orioles back on top, but it did not last long. Seattle answered with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Robinson Cano, Yonder Alonso and Danny Valencia each had an RBI single in the inning.
The Mariners added an insurance run in the next inning to make it a 7-4 game. The Birds looked hopeless for the next few frames. Up until the ninth, the O’s only managed to get a couple of men on base, and none of them came close to scoring.
In the top of the ninth, the Orioles trailed 7-3 and needed a burst of offense to get back into the game. Joseph, Smith and Beckham started the inning off with three straight walks to load the bases. Machado followed that up with a sacrifice fly to make it a two-0run game.
Seattle closer Edwin Diaz struggled with his command from the start of the inning, but he lost complete control when he hit Mancini and Trumbo in back-to-back at-bats. The two free passes allowed another run to score, but that would end Diaz’s day as he was replaced by Marc Rzepczynski.
The game would come down to the bat of Davis, but in typical Davis fashion his bat did not move as strike three zipped right down the middle to end the game.
The Orioles ten-game road trip has finally come to an end. The results are not too glamorous. The O’s ended up going 4-6 in the stretch despite outscoring their opponents 53-44.
After a much-needed off day on Thursday, the Orioles return home this weekend. The good news is that the O’s will have a chance to move up the standings this coming week as they prepare to face the Angels and A’s for the second time this month.
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