The new additions arrived in time Friday in Baltimore to start for the Mariners. Their presences did little to change Seattle’s recent fortunes against the Orioles. The Mariners struggled against Wei-Yin Chen for the second time in a week, mounting merely five hits in a 2-1 loss.
With an eye on redemption after dropping three of four to the Orioles at Safeco last weekend, the Mariners arrived in Baltimore hoping to salvage their seven-game season series.
Roenis Elias gave the M’s a strong pitching performance over 5.2 innings. The rookie left-hander limited the Orioles to two runs on seven hits and a walk. He also struck out seven on the day he turned 26.
Had it not been for an error by fellow rookie Chris Taylor at shortstop on a crucial play in the sixth inning, Elias may have escaped the jam with the game still tied.
With no outs and Manny Machado on second after a leadoff double, Adam Jones hit a chopper to Taylor and Machado broke for third. Seeking to get the lead runner, Taylor gloved the ball and turned to throw to third only to mishandle the transfer.
Elias (8-9, 4.19 ERA) responded by striking out Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis looking. But J.J. Hardy delivered an RBI single up the middle on a 3-2 pitch that barely eluded the grasp of Robinson Cano,ranging to his right. Tom Wilhelmsen relieved Elias, who entered the game with 123.1 innings, a number that will bear watching for manager Lloyd McClendon and his coaching staff. Wilhelmsen retired Delmon Young on one pitch to prevent further damage.
The Mariners had three more innings to attempt to tie or take the lead, but simply could not muster offense against Chen and the Orioles deadline-strengthened bullpen.
Chen (12-3, 3.76 ERA) pitched a 1-2-3 seventh on six pitches, then in the eighth retired Taylor before walking Austin Jackson, making his Mariners’ debut. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter went to left-handed reliever Andrew Miller, a highly sought after trade-deadline addition, to hold the Orioles’ lead.
Seattle made it interesting against Miller as Dustin Ackley stole second and took third base when Caleb Joseph’s throw went into center field. Miller walked Cano to bring Morales to the plate. Morales, who notched his second RBI in his return to the Mariners earlier, grounded out to short.
Zach Britton pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 22nd save.
For AL East division-leading Baltimore (61-47), the win was its fifth in seven consecutive one-run games, as well as their fourth in five games versus the Mariners (56-53).
In the third inning, Machado hit a line drive single up the middle on a hanging changeup from Elias. Machado led the Orioles with three hits, including a double and an RBI. Morales helped the Mariners answer in the fourth inning by driving a double down the left-field line to score Cano from first.
The double was Morales’ second in as many games after he started 1-for-18.
LHP James Paxton (2-0, 2.25 ERA) will make his third start of the season Saturday after missing nearly four months with a strained lat and shoulder inflammation . . . Rookie outfielders James Jones and Stefen Romero were optioned to Class AAA Tacoma to make room on the 25-man roster for newly acquired OF Jackson and OF Chris Denorfia . . . Jackson became the seventh leadoff hitter the Mariners have used this season . . . The fourth-inning run snapped an 11-inning scoreless stretch against Chen for the Mariners.