The Mariners and Orioles entered their three-game series at Camden Yards Friday night ranked 1-2 in the major leagues in percent of runs scored via the home run. Right on form, Seattle bashed four and Baltimore three, but two swings by Adam Jones and Nate McLouth proved the difference in its 11-8 victory, Seattle’s fourth consecutive loss.
The first, a three-run double by Jones, a former Mariner, in the first, helped push Baltimore to a 4-0 lead off Seattle starter Aaron Harang. The second, a grand slam by McLouth in the sixth off Brandon Mauer provided the Orioles an insurmountable lead.
The Mariners are 2-7 since the end of their eight-game winning streak. Ten games behind Oakland when the eight-gamer ended, the Mariners are now 13.5 out.
Harang, making the first start of his career at Camden Yards a forgettable one, put Seattle in an immediate hole in the first when he gave up a single to McLouth and walked Manny Machado and Nick Markakis. Jones responded with a three-run double and Harang never recovered. He departed after five, having been torched for seven runs.
Baltimore had leads of 4-0, 5-3, 6-3, 7-4 and 11-6, the Mariners battling back with long balls — Humberto Quintero (1st Seattle HR), Michael Saunders (8th), Michael Morse (12th) and Kendrys Morales (17th).
The late homer gave Morales his second straight four-hit game. A trade candidate only a week ago, Morales went 4-for-5 in Boston Thursday and came back with a 4-for-4 effort Friday that included two runs scored and two RBIs.
Morales is 13-for-17 in the four games on the road trip and has hits in 10 of his last 14 contests, but his hot bat, and Kyle Seager’s, have not been able to offset a horrendous bullpen Thursday and Friday. Seager had another hit Friday, extending his hitting streak at Camden Yards to nine games.
The Orioles entered the contest having been blanked in two of their previous four games. Baltimore got a third run on a Raul Ibanez error in left and a fourth on a Matt Wieters sacrifice fly.
Saunders’ two-run homer following Justin Smoak’s full-count walk sliced Baltimore’s lead to 4-2 and Morales made it 4-3 with an RBI single.
The Orioles extended their lead to 7-3 on solo homers by Chris Davis, his 40th, in the third and No. 9 hitter Ryan Flaherty in the fourth. After Quintero, Seattle’s backup catcher, homered in the fifth, Jones added an RBI single to give Baltimore a 7-4 lead.
That spelled the end for Harang but not the end of Seattle’s woes.
The Mariners got two back in the sixth on Morse’s run-scoring double and a Saunders sacrifice fly, but the Orioles broke it open when McLouth busted his grand slam off reliever Brandon Maurer, giving Baltimore an 11-6 lead. Maurer opened the frame by giving up singles to the first three batters.
Home runs by Morales and Morse closed the scoring.
The series continues Saturday at 4:05 p.m. RHP Erasmo Ramirez (2-0, 7.71), seeking his third consecutive win since his recall from AAA Tacoma, works for Seattle opposite RHP Scott Feldman (2-2, 5.12).
NOTES: Seattle second baseman Nick Franklin went 0-for-5 Friday and is hitless in his last 17 at-bats . . . Acting manager Robby Thompson gave Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse the day off Thursday in the series ender at Fenway Park. Both were back in the lineup in Baltimore Friday . . . Reliever Danny Farquhar, who threw three perfect innings at Boston Wednesday, has not allowed a run in his last 9.1 innings covering five appearances.