BALTIMORE — With the Mariners deep in rebuilding mode, Marco Gonzales is just the type of player manager Scott Servais would like to see as the team’s pitching anchor for the next decade.
He’s young, works hard, is durable and perhaps most importantly, he wins. Well, most of the time.
Gonzales (16-12) gave up just three hits over seven innings while striking out four but a late-game gopher ball gave the Orioles a 2-1 victory Sunday and a series win over the Mariners.
“Marco’s been great,” Servais said. “What a year. He’s coming up close on 200 innings. There’s not many guys in this league that can still do that. And right there today, we get a big hit here or there and he wins another ballgame.”
Gonzales made his costly mistake in the seventh when he served up a homer to the Orioles’ Chris Davis, the once-feared slugger who signed a $161 million contract in 2016 but is just a shadow of his former self.
Davis, hitting just .176, drilled a Gonzales offering just over the right-field wall to snap a 1-1 tie and the Orioles held on for the win.
“I thought we were just a little too fine on the corner,” Gonzales said of the pitch to Davis. “Unfortunately, it went right into his swing path. I honestly didn’t think it was going to get out. But it squeaked out.”
Gonzales, who was hoping to become the Mariners’ first 17-game winner since Felix Hernandez in 2015, gave up two hits in the first but none until Davis connected.
The 27-year-old southpaw said it was “not even close” to being one of his best-pitched games of the year.
“We got a lot of quick outs but I thought they did us a lot of favors swinging at a lot of pitches,” he said. “So we got away with some, we took some away, but there’s always room for improvement.”
The Mariners managed seven hits but could not break through against the Orioles, at 51-105 owners of the second-worst record in the American League.
John Means (11-11) gave up all seven hits over seven innings against the Mariners before Richard Bleier threw the final two for his fourth save.
The Mariners raced to a 1-0 lead two batters into the game when hot-hitting rookie Shed Long hit his first career triple and J.P. Crawford lined a single to right.
Gonzales did not have his best stuff early as the Orioles evened the score in the bottom of the first with an RBI double off the wall in right by Renato Nunez.
The Mariners (66-90) beat the Orioles 7-6 in a 13-inning, 4-hour, 42-minute affair Saturday night, and Servais said it showed.
“It was two tired teams out there today,” he said. “Tight game, one pitch here or there, one swing here or there can really turn it and that’s what happened today. It just came down to one big hit and they got it and we didn’t.”
Servais said Gonzales was “on top of his game” with the exception of the pitch to Davis.
“It’s baseball,” he said. “You make one mistake and it can cost you. And that’s what happened today.”
The Mariners lost two of three to the Orioles and return home Tuesday to face the AL West champion Astros in a three-game set before closing out the season at T-Mobile Park against the A’s, who lead the race for a wild-card berth into the postseason.
• Reliever Austin Adams suffered an ACL injury Saturday night and it will require “a significant recovery” period, Servais said. An MRI on Sunday revealed the damage that will require surgery. Adams hurt his left knee covering first on a close play. “He’s pretty shook about it, as anybody would be,” Servais said. “He will be back. He’ll fight through it.”
• 1B Daniel Vogelbach was kept out of the game with a sore neck. “His neck is all locked up,” Servais said. “He’s got a shooting pain down the back of it. It’s a long year. Things happen.” Servais said Vogelbach could have been a late-inning replacement, if needed.
• 2B Shed Long has hit safely in 12 of 16 games (with an at-bat) since being recalled Sept. 3. During that stretch, he’s hitting .366 with 10 runs, four homers and nine RBI.