Michael Saunders launched two opposite-field homers and drove in five runs and Erasmo Ramirez pitched six solid innings for his third straight win as the Mariners rolled to an 8-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles Saturday night at Camden Yards. The victory, Seattle’s first on its six-game road trip, snapped a four-game losing streak and prevented the Mariners from losing another series.
The Mariners lashed 15 hits and had six players with multi-hit games as they improved to 51-59 and finally came up with a positive result after two wrenching, back-to-back, walk-off losses in Boston and a home-run hammering in the first game of the series with the Orioles.
Saunders drilled a three-run homer in the fifth and added a two-run shot in the ninth, his ninth and 10th jacks of the season. Justin Smoak also homered, his 10th, giving Seattle seven long balls in the first two games of the series.
“We’ve been playing good baseball over the the last month,” Saunders told ROOT Sports. “We definitely had a tough series in Boston. Tonight, it all started with (Erasmo) Ramirez on the mound, and then we got the hits. I just trying to stay up the middle and not do too much.”
Ramirez was long gone by the time Saunders whacked his second home run, but he pitched well enough, allowing four earned runs on four hits. He struck out six, didn’t walk a batter, and dropped his ERA down to 7.25.
Reliever Danny Farquhar scored his first major league save. In his previous outing, he had three scoreless innings in Boston, and Saturday came in with two on and two out in the eighth got a key out when he induced Adam Jones to fly to center. Farquhar pitched a perfect ninth.
Kendrys Morales, who entered with eight hits in his previous eight at-bats, failed to tie Raul Ibanez’s club record of nine (2004), but came up with two more knocks in five ABs, improving his average to .299. On the road trip, Morales is 15-for-22 (.682).
Brad Miller also delivered three hits, as did Smoak, who also walked twice.
The only negative notes: Kyle Seager had his 10-game hitting streak at Camden Yards come to an end, and Nick Franklin went 0-for-4, extending a slide that has reached 0-for-24.
Smoak homered on a 1-and-1 count in the second, giving the Mariners a 1-0 lead. Matt Wieters answered with a solo shot in Baltimore’s half.
After Michael Morse opened the fourth with a double to left, Smoak walked on a full count and Humberto Quintero singled, loading the bases. Miller’s fielder’s choice scored Morse for a 2-1 lead.
Baltimore tied it in its half on Manny Machado’s homer to left on a 1-and-0 count. In the fifth, Morse delivered a run-scoring single. Saunders, following a Seager walk and single by Smoak, cleared the sacks.
The Mariners put two more aboard in the sixth when Miller and Morales singled, but Ibanez grounded out. The Mariners had two more aboard in the seventh and couldn’t score when Miller fanned. The Mariners stranded 12.
Ramirez ran out of steam in the seventh when he opened by allowing a single to Markakis and a double to Jones. Charlie Furbush came on and gave up a sacrifice fly to Chris Davis, scoring Markakis, and a single to Weiters, scoring Jones to make it 6-4.
The Mariners loaded the bases in the eighth — a Franklin walk, a Morales single, an Ibanez single, — but the Orioles erased Franklin and Ibanez in run downs to end the inning.
The series finishes Sunday with a 10:35 a.m. PT start. Lefty Joe Saunders (9-10, 4.65) will work for Seattle opposite LHP Wei-Yin Chen (6-3, 2.87). Saunders lost at Boston Tuesday, but threw a complete-game, four-hitter against Baltimore April 29.
The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday night for a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.
NOTES: With four hits (4-for-5) Thursday and four more (4-for-4) Friday, Kendrys Morales became the second Mariner to collect four or more hits in consecutive games. Ichiro accomplished the feat three times: July 20-21, 2004, Sept. 21-22, 2004 and June 6-67, 2006 . . .Jesus Montero is hitting .258 for Tacoma while Franklin Gutierrez is batting .224.