The Mariners’ chances of grabbing the American League’s second wild card spot took another hit Sunday when Manny Machado’s 10th-inning, bases-loaded sacrifice fly, coupled with another lame late-innings batting effort by Seattle, provided the Baltimore Orioles with a 3-2 victory at Safeco Field. The Orioles took three of four in the series and the Mariners tumbled to 3-7 since the All-Star break.
“We went 1-for-7 with runners position and that’s just not going to get it done,” said manager Lloyd McClendon. “We had opportunities, but we didn’t come through when we need to come through.”
After catcher Mike Zunino cracked his 15th home run in the eighth inning to tie at 2 and Fernando Rodney did his part in the ninth, recording two outs, Yoervis Medina, celebrating his 26th birthday, came out to pitch the 10th. He won’t look back on the milestone fondly.
Former Mariner Adams Jones roped Medina’s first pitch, a fastball, into the left-field corner for a double. Medina walked Nelson Cruz, then went to 3-and-0 on Chris Davis, and walked him. Medina retired J.J. Hardy on a pop out to first, but Machado’s long sacrifice fly to James Jones in center easily scored Adam Jones with the winning run.
Baltimore reliever Zach Britton had a no-sweat 10th. He struck out Kyle Seager looking and Corey Hart and Logan Morrison swinging, sending the Mariners to a 3-5 record in extra-inning games.
“It wasn’t good,” McClendon said of Medina’s pitch that Machado used to drive in the winning run. “He (Medina) was battling to get a ground ball, but it just didn’t work.”
The Mariners (54-51), once nine games over .500, are 5-11 in their last 16 after going 15-6 from June 15-July 7. They have played 22 games in July and 14 have been decided by two runs or less.
Seattle starter Roenis Elias allowed one run on five hits over five innings with six strikeouts and three walks, but left after throwing 85 pitches.
“Elias did a nice job,” said McClendon. “But we have to be careful of this young man and be conscious of his innings and pitch count. But he did a nice job.”
In the second, rookie shortstop Chris Taylor’s RBI double to left, scoring Logan Morrison, staked Elias to a 1-0 lead. But in the third, the Orioles got a run-scoring single from No. 9 hitter Jonathan Schoop to tie.
The Mariners did nothing offensively until the seventh when they placed a pair of runners aboard — Dustin Ackley got his third hit and Robinson Cano walked — with one out, but couldn’t capitalize as Kendrys Morales popped to first and Seager fanned.
The Orioles went up 2-1 in the eighth when, after loading the bases against Brandon Maurer, Machado’s infield hit to shortstop plated the tying run. But Zunino got it back. With two outs, he crushed a ball over the wall in left for his 15th homer.
After that, Seattle hitters went into a coma, five of it final seven hitters in the ninth and 10th innings striking out. The Mariners had nine hits, but stranded 11.
Chris Taylor’ double in the second was the first of his career. The RBI was also his first. Taylor went 2-for-4 . . . Ackley went 3-for-5 and hiked his batting average to a season-high .251 . . . Zunino, who entered batting .201, had three hits and improved his average to .209 . . . LHP James Paxton completed his final rehab start for AAA Tacoma Sunday and will join the Mariners for their road trip to Cleveland and Baltimore. Paxton had been on the 60-day disabled list with a strained left latissimus dorsi muscle. Paxton (2-0, 2.25 ERA) hasn’t pitched in the big majors since April 8.
Following a day off Monday, the Mariners begin a three-game series at Cleveland at 4:05 p.m. Tuesday. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (8-5, 3.09) will work for Seattle opposite RHP Trevor Bauer (4-5, 3.93). After the Cleveland series, the Mariners will play three at Baltimore before returning to Safeco Field Aug. 5 for a pair against the Atlanta Braves.