Some old habits are returning: Ex-Mariners are haunting current Mariners, and starting Mariners pitchers can’t afford a single mistake.
Jason Vargas paid dearly for one bad pitch — surrendering a three-run home run to Nick Markakis — that proved the difference in the Orioles’ 3-1 win in the first of a three-game series in Baltimore Monday night.
Vargas saw his five-game winning streak end, and Orioles starter Chris Tillman shut down his old club for the second time this season to improve his record to 5-1. Tillman, a second-round pick in the 2006 draft whom the Mariners traded with Adam Jones in the infamous Erik Bedard deal in 2008, gave up five hits in 7.1 innings as the Orioles won for the seventh time in the past 10 games.
After the second-inning homer, Vargas, the American League Pitcher of the Month for July, retired 14 of the next 15 hitters, but the Mariners offense continued its run of feebleness begun in the previous series in New York.
Mike Carp had the Mariners’ first hit in the fourth inning, and had baserunners in each inning thereafter. Eric Thames scored the lone run in the eighth when he doubled off Tillman and came home on a single by Munenori Kawasaki, starting his second game in place of injured shortstop Brendan Ryan (bruised elbow). Kawasaki was thrown out at second trying to stretch the single.
Tillman shut down the Mariners July 4 in Seattle, giving up two hits and no earned runs in 8.1 innings in his game of the major league season after his call-up from AAA.