The Mariners continued to pay the price for their misguided acquisition of Erik Bedard in 2008 when Chris Tillman, part of the package (with Adam Jones) that they sent to Baltimore in exchange for Bedard, tossed seven effective innings and blanked Seattle 1-0 at Camden Yards Sunday. Unable to provide Hisashi Iwakuma with any semblance of offense, the Mariners fell to 57-54 and 6-10 since the All-Star break.
Iwakuma (9-6, 2.94) made one critical mistake when he allowed a leadoff home run on a 3-and-2 splitter to Nick Markakis, the only run the Orioles required to take the series 2-1. Tillman took it from there, giving up four singles with less-than-overpowering stuff. Tillman, who fanned six and didn’t walk a batter, improved his career record against the Mariners to 6-0.
Seattle has been shut out 14 times this season compared to 11 last year. The Mariners are two blankings away from matching the highest single-season total in the past 20 years — 16 in 2011. The Mariners have also lost 21 games this season by one run.
The Mariners had two chances in the late innings to get something going. In the seventh, Kendrys Morales opened with a single to center, but Kyle Seager hit into a double play and Chris Denorfia bounced to second. In the ninth, Robinson Cano drew a two-out walk, bringing Morales to the plate with the potential winning run. But Orioles reliever Zach Britton fanned Morales on a pitch that appeared well off the plate, inside. That was as close Iwakuma came to having a chance at his 10th victory.
“I don’t think one pitch will win or a lose a game,” manager Lloyd McClendon said of Britton’s game-ending pitch to Morales. “It was a tough game and we battled. We barreled some balls, but they were right at them. We put the ball in play but just didn’t find any holes. It was one of those days.”
Iwakuma had a career-high, nine-game road winning streak, dating to July 20, 2013, snapped in his attempt to match the franchise record of 10 by Freddy Garcia from April 16, 2000-July 6, 2001. Kuma recorded five of those nine wins this season, but departed with two outs in the eighth after walking Nick Hundley and allowing a single to Manny Machado.
“He threw a great ball game for us,” McClendon said of Iwakuma, who allowed five hits over 7.2 innings with seven strikeouts. “He made one mistake and it cost him. Bu I thought we played them tough. We’ve played them seven games this season and we played they pretty darned good.”
The two newcomers, CF Austin Jackson and RF Chris Denorfia, combined to go 0-for-7 . . . The Mariners went 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position, but stranded four . . . Dustin Ackley, who entered with a .403 batting average in 15 games since the All-Star break, went 0-for-4 . . . The Mariners still aren’t ready to send OF Michael Saunders out on a rehab assignment. Saunders will test his strained left oblique muscle at Safeco Field, where the Mariners begin a nine-game home stand Tuesday.
After a day off Monday, the Mariners have two interleague games with the Atlanta Braves. Felix Hernandez (11-3, 2.01) will go for his 12th victory, throwing opposite LHP Alex Wood (7-8, 3.30). Following the Braves, the Mariners will host the Chicago White Sox for four.