Orioles edge Mariners for fifth straight win
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles are a winning team once again. Now, they want to be a playoff team.
Chris Davis lined a tiebreaking RBI double to right in the seventh inning as the Baltimore Orioles extended their winning streak to five games with a 7-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.
The Orioles (66-65) moved above .500 for the first time since June 11. They sit 1 1/2 games behind the idle Minnesota Twins in the race for the second American League wild card.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that if you’re .500 or below, you’re not going to the playoffs,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s the obvious thing. But until you take care of some other things ... mathematically we know that’s a given.”
Seattle (66-66) trails Baltimore by one-half game.
Mariners left fielder Ben Gamel set a career high with five RBIs. He hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, then lined a two-run single to center in the sixth, tying the score 6-6.
The Orioles came through in the seventh. Trey Mancini singled off Emilio Pagan (1-3), and Davis followed with a double into the right field corner. Mancini scored from first when right fielder Mitch Haniger momentarily had problems coming up with the ball, giving the Orioles a 7-6 lead.
Davis has struggled at the plate for much of the season, but he went 2-for-3 on Monday, raising his average to .228.
Pagan left a pitch where Davis can do some damage, down and in, and the first baseman ripped a liner to right that gave the Orioles a win.
“I just missed down,” Pagan said. “He’s a good hitter, and he made me pay for it.”
The Orioles finished the night with 16 hits and went 6-for-16 with runners in scoring position. They are starting to get on their long-awaited roll.
“It feels really good right now, especially offensively,” said Mancini, who finished 3-for-4 and raised his average to .297. “I feel like we’re all not trying to do too much. We trust the guy in front of us and behind us to get the job done so, yeah, it’s been really good to be a part of the offense these last few games.”
Donnie Hart (2-0) got the win after pitching a scoreless seventh.
Darren O’Day worked out of a jam in the eighth before Zach Britton closed it in the ninth for his 12th save, the first since his 60-save streak ended last week against the Oakland A’s.
Chris Tillman started for Baltimore, but command issues burned him again. He gave up six runs and just three hits — two of which were homers — but allowed four walks. They all scored in his 5 1/3 innings. He struck out one.
Tillman is winless in 16 consecutive starts after the latest no-decision.
Seattle starter Marco Gonzales lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs and eight hits. Manager Scott Servais said the club would examine his role in the rotation.
“We’ll talk about it,” Servais said. “I certainly like a lot of things he does. He struggled putting hitters away. Tough lineup for him to go through.”
Tillman retired the first five batters before Valencia gave Seattle a 1-0 lead with a second-inning homer to center.
The Orioles answered in the bottom of the second thanks to Welington Castillo’s two-run single. They stretched the lead to 3-1 in the third on a soft single to right from Jonathan Schoop that drove in Manny Machado.
Seattle reclaimed the lead in the fourth on Gamel’s three-run homer off Tillman.
The Orioles then scored twice in the bottom of the inning, once on a Craig Gentry single, and they took a 5-4 lead when Gonzales hit Tim Beckham with a pitch with the bases loaded.
Adam Jones made it 6-4 with a leadoff homer against Christian Bergman in the fifth.
NOTES: The Orioles recalled LHP Donnie Hart from Triple-A Norfolk, and RHP Mike Wright was sent back to the Tides. ... Baltimore CF Adam Jones’ homer was his 25th, the seventh straight season he has reached that level, setting a team record. He passed Cal Ripken Jr. ... Seattle RHP Christian Bergman’s contract was selected from Triple-A Tacoma. The Mariners optioned RHP Dan Altavilla to Tacoma. ... Seattle LF Ben Gamel’s three-run homer in the fourth inning ended an 0-for-8 slide.