I really hope that the Orioles don't finish one game below 500 or one game out of the second wild card. Because if they do, you can go back to this game and put it in the imaginary should be a w column. Coming into tonight's game, the Mariners scored 9 runs in their last 7 games. Their 7 - 8 - 9 hitters were all hitting under 200. And Jason Hammel is trying to finish the first half strong to make the all star game. EME was right to be nervous. And of course, the Orioles are 21-39 all time at Safeco, pretty impressive considering it feels like the Orioles and the Mariners are always picking in the top 10 every year.
The game started out rather briskly. Jason Hammel retired the first six Mariner hitters but the infamous back end of the Mariner lineup would manufacture a run on a single, a bunt and another single. But the Orioles would respond. After hitting a 2 out double which could not score SHJ from first, Chris Davis would take the drama out of it in the 4th. After professional slugger Jim Thome got his first hit as an Oriole and Matt Wieters would draw a 2 out walk, Fred Manfra observed that there is "not a lot of speed on the bases." But Chris Davis launched a 3 run bomb halfway into the first deck in right center field. And at this point with Hammel on the hill and the Mariners averaging less than a run and a half per game over their last 7 games, you have to feel pretty good.
More below the jump.
Hammel kept on cruising. In the top of the fifth, Buck may have overmanaged a bit. Steve Pearce managed to get a base on balls, but in what can only be described as a rather laborious at bat, Andino attempted to sacrifice, then fouled off a hit and run attempt, and would ultimately fly outt. Undeterred, Pearce would attempt to make nothing out of something as he was pretty easily caught stealing, as you expect from someone with 5 stolen bases in over 200 games. JJ Hardy would strikeout to end the inning. Still though, Hammel would mow them down, even though an Andino error in the 5th extended the inning. And in the bottom of the sixth, following a one out single off the bat of Casper Wells, John Jaso hit a ball that Steve Pearce should have caught, but he closed his mitt too soon, and Wells advanced to third and Jaso to second on the "double." But Hammel would get a weak ground out to the pitcher and a strikeout to end the threat. At this point, you have to be thinking win. The Orioles go down weakly in the top half of the 7th.
And then the bottom of the seventh. Dustin Ackley would walk on 4 straight. And Hammel would fall behind Figgins three balls and no strikes. But Hammel would battle again, and would actually strike Figgins out, but Robert Andino foiled what would have been a strike 'em out, throw 'em double play by dropping the throw from Wieters. This would prove costly. Hammel gave up a soft single to Mariner utility infielder Munenori Kawasaki, but battled back to retire Brendan Ryan. First and Third, but two gone. Ichiro walks on 5 pitches to load the bases. And on the second pitch Casper Wells saw in his fateful at bat, he would hit a three run double, and the Mariners found themselves on top 4-3. Troy Patton retired Jaso to end the 7th. The Orioles go down softly in the 8th. Patton gives up two solo homers in the eighth on back to back pitches off the bats of Olivo and Ackley. And the Orioles went down weakly in the 9th. Game over, Orioles lose 6-3.
Miguel Olivo was interviewed after the game on the Mariners radio side, and this was his quote: "Well, we've been struggling of late at home, and-really all year-so now was the time to step up." Felix is on the hill tomorrow...