Just like old times

O’s ‘Turn Back the Clock,’ de­feat Mariners to snap season-long 10-game skid

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - ORIOLES - By Peter Sch­muck

SEAT­TLE — It was “Turn Back the Clock Day” at T-Mo­bile Field and the Seat­tle Mariners were com­mem­o­rat­ing the ar­rival of Ma­jor League Baseball in the Pa­cific North­west by don­ning repli­cas of the uni­forms worn by the ex­pan­sion Seat­tle Pi­lots in 1969.

Of course, the Ori­oles had to do their part by wear­ing replica uni­forms from the same year, which meant they en­tered Satur­day’s game mired in a 10-game los­ing streak dressed like the team that won the most reg­u­lar-season games in fran­chise his­tory.

So, it was only fair that the Mariners played like the 98-loss Pi­lots and the Ori­oles played like the 109-win team that won the Amer­i­can League pen­nant, as Bal­ti­more snapped its season-long los­ing streak with an 8-4 vic­tory.

Ap­pro­pri­ately, the game turned on a three-run home run by Jonathan Vil­lar in the fourth in­ning, which would have made Hall of Fame man­ager Earl Weaver smile. The Ori­oles (22-55) played terrific de­fense and solid fun­da­men­tal baseball to se­cure their first vic­tory since they beat the Toronto Blue Jays on June 11 at Cam­den Yards.

“Yeah, it’s been a tough skid,’’ start­ing pitcher An­drew Cash­ner said. “It’s worn on all of us, the coaches and play­ers. We’ve done some things right, we’ve done some things wrong. We just haven’t been able to kind of get that win.”

Maybe there was some­thing mag­i­cal about the throw­back uni­forms. Sev­eral Ori­oles play­ers had one of the jerseys made up with Jim Palmer’s name and num­ber on it and — in a classy ges­ture — de­liv­ered it to him in the broad­cast booth be­fore the game.

“Maybe we’ll wear them again to­mor­row,’’ man­ager Bran­don Hyde joked. “What­ever uni­form al­lows us to win, I’ll put it on.”.

Cash­ner went out and pitched six strong in­nings against the Mariners (34-47), who scored 10 runs Fri­day and held off a late Ori­oles rally to guar­an­tee them­selves at least a split of the four-game se­ries.

Cash­ner (7-3) gave up two runs on five hits and walked just one on the way to his team-lead­ing sev­enth vic­tory. He al­lowed an RBI dou­ble to Mariners des­ig­nated hit­ter Daniel Vo­gel­bach in the first in­ning and the other run in the sixth af­ter right fielder Domingo San­tana led off the in­ning with a long dou­ble.

“Cash was great,’’ Hyde said. “He didn’t have his best stuff and gave up a run early and was able to go deep in the game for us and al­low us to nav­i­gate through our bullpen.”

The Ori­oles didn’t get a hit off Mariners starter Tommy Milone (1-2) through the first three in­nings, but broke through with a pair of one-out hits in the fourth be­fore Vil­lar launched a home run into the bullpen area behind left field.

It was Vil­lar’s ninth home run of the season and his first multi-RBI per­for­mance since he hit a three-run homer off Colorado Rock­ies pitcher Kyle Free­land on May 25.

Hyde was la­ment­ing Fri­day night how the Ori­oles jumped ahead in the first in­ning in each of the first two games of the se­ries but were un­able to tack on runs to main­tain those leads.

That was not a problem Satur­day. The Ori­oles added two more runs in the sixth on a two-run homer by An­thony San­tander and an­other in the sev­enth with some un-Weaver-like small ball.

Richie Martin led off that in­ning with a sin­gle and stole sec­ond. Hanser Al­berto sac­ri­ficed him to third and Pe­dro Sev­erino brought home the Ori­oles’ sixth run with a sac­ri­fice fly.

“You’ve got to play the small game some­times,” Al­berto said. “What­ever the game tells you to do, you have to do.”

The late-in­ning hit­ting has been con­ta­gious the past two games and the Ori­oles kept the heat on in the eighth, load­ing the bases with two outs be­fore Al­berto sin­gled home Vil­lar and Keon Brox­ton to ex­tend the lead to six runs.

The sec­ond big of­fen­sive ef­fort in a row put Cash­ner in fairly com­fort­able po­si­tion to win, but he pointed to the string of terrific de­fen­sive plays made behind him, par­tic­u­larly by cen­ter fielder Keon Brox­ton and short­stop Richie Martin.

“I thought the big­gest thing to­day was our de­fense,’’ Cash­ner said. “Our de­fense came up big to­day.”

Jimmy Ya­cabo­nis came on in the sev­enth and struck out all three bat­ters he faced. Rookie Josh Rogers fol­lowed him to the mound and gave up a run in the eighth on a long homer by San­tana, but it was for­giv­able since nobody’s get­ting that guy out these days.

“That sev­enth in­ning was huge,’’ Hyde said. “Put up a zero there and if the game stayed close, it would have been a [My­chal] Givens-[Richard] Bleier type deal, but it al­lowed Bleier to get a day off. It was good to see.”

Givens al­lowed one run in the ninth, but the Ori­oles fi­nally could shake hands on the field for the first time in al­most two weeks.

Sev­eral play­ers ex­pressed re­lief that the los­ing streak was over, but Hyde said he’s still more focused on the process than the out­comes.

“We want to win and it feels way bet­ter to win,’’ he said, “but I was more happy with how we played. That’s my thing. I just want us to play the game well. I want us to com­pete and I want us to not walk guys. And I want us to grind out at-bats and if we do those things, we give our­selves a chance and I thought we did that to­day and I’m re­ally happy with that.”

JOE NI­CHOL­SON/AP

Jonathan Vil­lar, right, ex­changes a high-five with Re­nato Nunez af­ter hit­ting a three-run home run against the Mariners on Satur­day.

AB­BIE PARR/GETTY

An­drew Cash­ner pitches six strong in­nings against the Mariners to im­prove to 7-3.

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