LeBlanc pitches Mariners to victory over Orioles
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[July 02, 2016]
SEATTLE -- The Baltimore Orioles
rolled into Safeco Field on a seven-game winning streak, having
scored 43 runs in their past four wins.
Then they hit a road block in the first two games of the series
with the Seattle Mariners.
Journeyman Wade LeBlanc turned in his second solid performance in as
many starts, and the Mariners rode home runs from Seth Smith, Kyle
Seager and Dae-Ho Lee to a 5-2 victory over the Orioles on Friday
"It's baseball," said Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado, whose
10-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-4 performance on a night
when the Orioles managed just five hits. "You're not going to hit
every night, plain and simple. You keep grinding it and keeping
doing what you do, and you get through it."
LeBlanc, who threw six shutout innings in his Mariners debut last
week, allowed two runs and three hits over six innings Friday.
LeBlanc (1-0) earned his first win since Sept. 23, 2014, while with
the Los Angeles Angels. He spent the 2015 season in Japan.
"He's doing a really nice job," Seattle manager Scott Servais said
of a pitcher who was in Toronto's minor league system before the
starter-desperate Mariners acquired him for a player to be named on
June 21. "That's not an easy lineup to navigate through with all the
power they have. But (LeBlanc) just kind of took the sting out of
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose team has managed just 13 hits
and five runs over the first two games of the series, wasn't too
concerned about the offensive funk.
"Whoever pitches the best is going to be the last team standing," he
said. "It's not as complicated as people make it."
Lee went 3-for-4 with a single, a double and a two-run homer that
opened up a 5-2 lead in the eighth. Lee took Baltimore reliever Chaz
Roe deep for a one-out homer that gave the Mariners some insurance
runs after Seager's two-run blast in the sixth put Seattle ahead
Smith also had three hits, including a first-inning homer. He has
homered in both games of the series.
Mariners relievers Mike Montgomery, Edwin Diaz and closer Steve
Cishek each pitched a scoreless inning while combining to allow two
hits. Cishek earned his 20th save of the season and second in as
Baltimore's Kevin Gausman (1-6) allowed three runs and eight hits
over six innings as the Orioles lost back-to-back games for the
first time since June 20-21. The last time Baltimore (47-32) dropped
consecutive games to the same team was on June 11-12, when the
Toronto Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the Orioles.
Baltimore's lead atop the American League East dwindled to four
games after the loss and a win by the Boston Red Sox over the Los
"You're not going to go up there every day and get hits every
at-bat," Machado said. "You just try to go up and do something
productive to help the team win every day."
Solo home runs by Smith and the Orioles' Chris Davis left the score
tied 1-1 after two innings.
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Mariners starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc (35) throws a pitch against
the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Safeco Field.
Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Smith hit a one-out homer, his second in as many days, in the first
to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead. Davis tied the score with a leadoff
shot in the top of the second inning. The home run ended LeBlanc's
scoreless-inning streak at 24 2/3 innings, which was the longest
active streak in baseball.
The last time LeBlanc had allowed a run in a major league game
before the Davis home run was Sept. 2, 2014. He closed out that
season with 17 2/3 scoreless innings as a starter/reliever.
LeBlanc gave up another run in the third inning, when Jonathan
Schoop's two-out RBI single gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead.
Seager put the Seattle (41-39) back on top when he hit an 0-2 pitch
from Gausman into the right field seats.
"Maybe he was kind of sitting on it," Gausman said. "I throw a lot
of fastballs up (in the strike zone) to those guys -- that's how I
like to attack hitters -- and maybe there were sitting on it."
Servais wasn't surprised to see Seager deliver in the clutch.
"He gets a lot of big hits," the manager said. "He's an underrated
player, and that's OK. I think he likes it that way."
NOTES: Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez (strained calf) threw a 43-pitch
bullpen session Friday afternoon and pronounced afterward that he
will be "100 percent" and ready to return to the rotation shortly
after the All-Star break. Hernandez has been out since May 28 but is
close to being ready for a rehab start or two. ... The Orioles
announced that RHP Ubaldo Jimenez will start Sunday. Jimenez has
struggled to the tune of a 6.63 ERA this season and there was
speculation that he may lose his spot in the rotation, but he will
get at least one more start. ... Baltimore went 19-9 in June,
ranking behind only Cleveland (22-6) and Texas (20-8) in the
American League last month. Closer Zach Britton converted all nine
save opportunities during the month without allowing an earned run.
... The broken hand that sidelined Seattle C Steve Clevenger this
week left the Mariners with nine players on the disabled list.
Clevenger, who is likely to require season-ending surgery, is one of
two catchers on the DL, along with Jesus Sucre. The other seven
injured players are pitchers.
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