The Mariners, who went nearly a month without winning two games in a row, captured their third consecutive contest Monday night at Safeco Field, scoring three times in the sixth inning en route to a 6-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. With the victory, Seattle improved 12-16 as it received another outstanding Safeco performance from lefty Joe Saunders.
The Mariners, nearing the end of a stretch of 16 games in 16 days, welcomed back outfielder Michael Saunders, who staked them to a 1-0 lead with a solo home run in the first inning. After Baltimore took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a two-run homer by Matt Wieters, the Mariners went up 3-2 in the fourth on a run-scoring double by Jason Bay and an RBI single by Robert Andino.
The Mariners broke it open in the sixth with three runs, highlighted by Kyle Seager’s run-scoring triple.
But the story of the game was Saunders (2-3), who threw a complete game and continued his run of success at Safeco. He’s now 8-0 lifetime at the ballpark with a 1.22 ERA in 12 career starts. Saunders allowed just two runs on four hits, struck out two and walked one, and threw 66 of his 105 pitches for strikes.
It was the eighth career complete game for Saunders, signed by the Mariners Feb. 12 as a free agent. He is now 2-0 at Safeco this season vs. 0-3 with a 12.51 ERA on the road.
Saunders scored two runs in his return to the club following a stint on the DL with an injured shoulder. Bay, who hit a big home run Sunday against the Angels, went 3-for-4, scored a run and drove in a run. Seager had two hits after seeing his 16-game hitting streak snapped Sunday, and Justin Smoak went 2-for-4, lifting his average to .223. The downer was a Safeco-record low crowd — 9,818.
The Mariners and Orioles play the second game of the series Tuesday night at Safeco Field. RHP Brandon Maurer (2-3, 5.6) will start for Seattle opposite RHP Jason Hammels (3-1, 3.82).