BALTIMORE — This is how it’s supposed to work.
The hitters at the top of the lineup reaching base and the hitters in the middle of the order driving them home.
It hasn’t happened often for the Mariners this season, and certainly not since the All-Star break. But Saturday night at Camden Yards it all came together in a 6-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Newly acquired Austin Jackson, who was batting leadoff, and hot-hitting Dustin Ackley batting behind him, combined for five hits, scored four runs and reached base six times.
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Robinson Cano and Kendrys Morales drove in five of the runs, and baseball, particularly scoring runs, seemed pretty easy on this night. The Mariners are 41-10 when scoring four or more runs.
“That’s a good recipe for winning,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.
The first example of that recipe came in the fifth with the score tied 1-1.
Jackson picked up his first hit as a Mariner with a leadoff single. Ackley, who has been one of the team’s most productive hitters since the All-Star break, doubled to right field to put runners in scoring position.
Unlike past games, the Mariners didn’t squander this opportunity. Cano belted his eighth homer, hammering a 1-1 changeup over the wall in right field off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez to make it 4-1.
“Robby came through big time for us there,” McClendon said. “He loves hitting in this ballpark, and tonight was indicative of that.”
All eight of Cano’s homers this season have come with runners on base. It was his 29th career home run against the Orioles — the most of any opponent — and his 15th at Camden Yards.
“It’s about time,” Cano joked. “Somebody asked me if I see the ball better here, but I think it’s just a ballpark I’ve been successful in. There’s nothing special.”
The recipe worked again in the top of the ninth inning. Jackson came up with a two-out single to right field. Orioles manager Buck Showalter called on his fifth pitcher of the night — lefty T.J. McFarland — to face the left-handed hitting Ackley. But the move backfired. Ackley reached on infield single — his third hit of the game. McFarland hit Cano with a pitch to load the bases. Morales drove in some big insurance runs, hammering a single into right field to make it 6-2.
“That was a big hit for us,” McClendon said. “It’s starting to come around for him.”
Besides the new-look lineup, the Mariners welcomed back starter James Paxton from the disabled list. He wasn’t great, but showed hints of dominance, pitching 41/3 innings and giving up two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
In the first inning, Paxton looked like a pitcher who hadn’t thrown in a major-league game since April 8. He walked Nick Markakis on five pitches to start the game and then served up a double to Manny Machado to put runners on second and third. Adam Jones scored Markakis with a ground ball to make it 1-0. Paxton made sure things didn’t get worse, striking out Nelson Cruz and Delmon Young to end the inning.
“We thought he’d be a little pumped up, a little over-amped and little rusty,” McClendon said. “Once the game got going, I thought he was extremely efficient.”
In the second inning, Paxton walked a batter and was in trouble again. But Ackley helped him out with a nice sliding catch on Markakis’ soft liner to left field to end the inning.
Ackley then followed up his glove work with some yard work, tying the score in the top of the third inning with a solo homer to right field off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez.
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Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.