The Mariners starter lasted just four outs after giving up seven runs to Baltimore in an eventual 10-4 loss.
Any notion that this was going to be a triumphant return to the Mariners’ starting rotation for Hector Noesi disappeared early Monday night.
In fact, Noesi’s performance was so disappointing, he might not get to make his next scheduled start.
Facing leadoff hitter Nate McLouth in the first inning, Noesi got ahead in the count 0-2, then grooved a pitch that McLouth deposited over the right-field wall. It was the continuation of a seasonlong problem for Noesi, who has given up five homers on 0-2 pitches.
Noesi didn’t last much longer, getting knocked out in the second inning as the Orioles rolled to a 10-4 romp at a sparsely occupied Safeco Field. A crowd of 13,036 saw Noesi get just four outs, by which time he had given up eight hits and seven runs (six earned).
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“He just really struggled,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “When he did get ahead, he gave up two-strike hits. It looked like he was in the middle of the plate. You keep hoping to try to squeeze him through, because the last thing you want in the first game of the series is to have to go to the bullpen in the second inning. It makes for a long evening and a long couple of days.
“Our bullpen did a great job, all things considered. Hector has to be better than that.”
Wedge was especially discouraged that Noesi was victimized by the same problems that plagued him earlier in the season.
“You send him down for a reason,” he said. “You’re hoping to see something better than that. When you make mistakes up here and you don’t execute pitches, you get knocked around, and that’s what happened.”
Noesi is scheduled to start Sunday against the Rangers, but that’s now up in the air.
“I don’t know,” Wedge said. “That’s something we’ll have to talk about. Carl (Willis, the pitching coach) and I will sit down and we’ll figure that out.”
For the Orioles, it was a key victory as they try to catch the Yankees in the AL East (they’re now a half-game behind), or at least hold onto their current wild-card berth.
The Mariners are trying to play the role of spoiler as well as continue to assess their personnel with an eye toward 2013. This was a chance for Noesi, sent down to the minors in mid-July, to begin to change impressions. But unfortunately for him, the outing merely reinforced prior images.
Noesi fell to 2-12 for the season, which, coupled with his 2-6 mark with Tacoma, gives him a combined 4-18 record for the season. That’s not exactly what the Mariners envisioned when they got Noesi and Jesus Montero in the Michael Piñeda trade last winter.
Noesi has shown a penchant for allowing the home-run ball, and Monday was more of the same. McLouth’s was the 21st he has allowed this season in 102 innings. He gave up a walk and three more singles in the first for two more runs, then allowed four more in the second. A run-scoring double by Mark Reynolds finally knocked Noesi out of the game.
“I think I was trying to do too much, to get back so they could see me good,” Noesi said. “I started missing my pitch up … I was just thinking too much. It was on me. It’s nobody’s fault; it was on me.”
The Orioles finished with 15 hits off five Mariners pitchers, led by Matt Wieters, who had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in three runs.
The game also provided another opportunity for the Orioles to rub the Erik Bedard trade in the Mariners’ face — a tired story by now, but unavoidable when Chris Tillman pitches.
Tillman gave up three hits and one run in six innings. He is 4-0 in four career starts against the Mariners, the team that drafted him in the second round in 2006, with a 0.98 earned-run average.
And then there’s Adam Jones, who went 3 for 4 while scoring four runs, and now is hitting .325 in his career against Seattle (51 of 157).
The Mariners’ lone run off Tillman came in the second inning on an opposite-field homer by Michael Saunders, his 16th. Tillman then retired 12 in a row before Dustin Ackley singled with one out in the sixth.
Eric Thames knocked a solo homer in the eighth. John Jaso added a two-run homer in the ninth, and the Mariners loaded the bases, forcing Orioles manager Buck Showalter to get up his closer, Jim Johnson. But Tommy Hunter struck out Trayvon Robinson to end it.
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @StoneLarry.