Thursday, May 02, 2013 2:19 am
Morse homers as Mariners knock off Orioles 8-3
By TIM BOOTHAP Sports Writer
"I thought he was pretty crisp with his fastball as evidenced by his strikeouts. He made a lot of mistakes with his off-speed pitches," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "That is usually not indicative of him (and) he paid a price for it."
Michael Morse hit an opposite-field two-run homer, his third shot in four games, Aaron Harang pitched six solid innings for his first victory, and the Mariners won their second straight series by beating the Orioles 8-3 on Wednesday night.
After not winning a series for most of April, the Mariners went 5-2 on their homestand, taking three of four from the Angels and two of three from Baltimore.
Morse's homer was the highlight on a night when the Mariners scored four times with two outs off Chen (2-3). Michael Saunders had three hits and scored three times, and Kendrys Morales had three RBIs, including a two-run double in the sixth inning.
"I just tried to make a pitch, but I couldn't make it stay in and it cost us," Chen said through an interpreter. "I didn't give our guys a chance to win the game."
That feeling of making mistakes wasn't isolated to Chen. Center fielder Adam Jones also felt that way after misplaying a deep fly ball in the second inning that went for a triple by slow-footed catcher Jesus Montero and eventually led to two runs for Seattle. Jones also had two other sinking liners come his way that he couldn't catch.
"I missed it and it cost my team what turned out to be a pretty big inning," Jones said. "I need to clean ... up defensively. It's ... frustrating."
Morse became the first Seattle hitter to have nine homers in the team's first 30 games since Mike Cameron in 2002. Cameron's total included a four-homer game, and Morse was slowed in April by a small fracture in the little finger on his right hand.
Seattle was hitting just .230 on the season with two outs, but scored four runs on key two-out hits. Bay got the Mariners started with a double into the left-field corner to score Morales in the first after Chen easily got the first two outs of the game.
The Mariners scored twice in the second, including Montero's first triple. Leading off the inning, Montero hit a drive to deep left-center that Jones was tracking. Jones seemed confident enough that he blew a bubble with his gum as he chased the long fly ball, but watched as it deflected off the edge of his glove just before he crashed hard into the wall.
Montero scored on Saunders' single, and Morales followed with another two-out RBI hit for a 3-0 lead.
Morse then capped Chen's miserable night with his drive to right-center in the fourth. Chen matched the shortest start of his career, lasting just four innings, giving up five runs, eight hits and walking three.
Morales and the Mariners weren't done, adding three more in the sixth. Morales hit a two-run double to center and scored on Bay's sacrifice fly. It was the third time this season the Mariners scored more than seven runs.
"I feel like our guys have taken significant steps, and what you are seeing now is more the norm in regard to what our guys are capable of," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "The way we're going to go about doing it is to be a complete team and to be able to count on all areas of our club."
Harang (1-3) was knocked around in his three previous outings, but took a one-hit shutout into the sixth inning. He retired 12 of the first 13 batters. Matt Wieters was the only Baltimore batter to reach, doubling with two outs in the second.
Harang finally found trouble in the sixth, but was able to finish the inning without Seattle having to touch its bullpen. Manny Machado's double extended his hitting streak to 10 games and was Baltimore's first hit since Wieters' double.
Nick Markakis lined a 3-2 pitch back up the middle into center field to score Machado and end Harang's shutout bid. Jones followed with an RBI double, but Harang struck out Chris Davis to end the inning.
Machado added a solo homer in the eighth inning.
"He's got too good a track record not to be better than his numbers so far," Showalter said of Harang. "He will pitch well. This is a good pitchers park. I was hoping it wouldn't fall on us."
Notes: Former Baltimore 2B Roberto Alomar was announced Wednesday as this year's inductee into the Orioles Hall of Fame. Alomar played three seasons in Baltimore from 1996-98. He will be inducted in August. ... Orioles RHP Zach Clark made his major league debut when he took over for Chen in the fifth inning. Clark went 1 2-3 innings, allowing three runs and three hits. ... Seattle had double-digit hits in six of seven games during its homestand.