The young pitcher couldn’t hold a 4-1 lead against Orioles. “It just wasn’t a good outing,” Walker said.

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BALTIMORE — When it comes to the overall success of Taijuan Walker, Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon has been realistic about expectations.

At the tender age of 22 and with less than a season’s worth of big-league starts, there is acceptance that Walker will have forgettable and frustrating starts to go with his stellar, strike-filled starts.

“I’ve said this before, but with a young pitcher like Taijuan, out of five starts, there’s going to be two bad ones and one that is just OK and two that are going to dazzle you,” McClendon said.

The 9-4 defeat Tuesday against Baltimore at Camden Yards fell into that first category for Walker, who failed to make it to the fifth inning for the fourth time this season.

“It just wasn’t a good outing,” Walker said. “I wasn’t getting ahead. A couple of walks hurt me because I wasn’t locating. From the beginning, I have to locate better.”

But this defeat didn’t belong to just Walker. The bullpen, specifically setup man Danny Farquhar who gave up the lead, shared in the blame while the rest of the team made sure it stayed a defeat with some miscues in the field and some failures with runners in scoring position.

As most defeats, it was a collective breakdown.

Seattle has lost four of its past six games and dropped to 17-21.

“His command wasn’t there and he struggled with his velocity as well,” McClendon said of Walker. “It was certainly not one of his best outings. It’s unfortunate because we scored some runs and tried to add on. It’s just a tough outing.”

Nelson Cruz’s 16th home run of the season — a three-run blast off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez in the third inning — put the Mariners up 4-1.

But command issues with a fastball that didn’t have its usual velocity and the lack of quality secondary pitches made Walker predictable for Baltimore hitters, who went right after him.

“Slider wasn’t working at all and the fastball wasn’t there,” Walker said. “It’s weird. Sometimes it’s there and sometimes when I feel really good my ‘velo’ isn’t there. If I locate better, it’s good. They’re a really aggressive team and I had to locate, and I didn’t do it.”

After extinguishing minor rallies in the first three innings, it all fell apart for Walker in the fourth. He issued a walk to Travis Snider to start the inning. J.J. Hardy and Alejandro De Aza followed with singles to load the bases with no outs. Caleb Joseph drove in the first run with a single to left to make it 4-2.

Walker looked as if he might be able to minimize the damage, getting Manny Machado to hit a dribbler back to the mound that started a 1-2-3 double play. But Walker would never get that third out. Jimmy Paredes reached out and poked a splitfinger fastball off the plate through the left side of the infield to beat a modified shift. The soft single scored two runs and tied the score at 4-4.

“I thought it was a pretty good pitch,” Walker said. “I looked at the video and it looked like it was off the plate too. He just got to it.”

Adam Jones followed with a sharp single to put runners on first and second. McClendon had seen enough. He hopped out of the dugout and ran toward the mound to make the change.

“He’s got to learn to compete and get after it and rely on your stuff a little bit more,” McClendon said.

Walker’s line of 42/3  innings pitched, four runs allowed on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts was not good. His season ERA is 7.47.

“When you talk about growing pains and a young pitcher getting better, there is going to be some failure,” McClendon said. “That’s the only way you are going to gain that knowledge and get better.”

Farquhar came in and ended the rally in the fourth inning, striking out Chris Davis looking. He pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning. But asked to pitch one more inning, Farquhar gave up three runs. He started off the inning allowing back-to-back doubles to De Aza and Joseph and then later served up a two-run homer to Paredes to make it 7-4.

“It felt like it was a foot off the plate, but it was up and he kind of stands on the plate, so that was probably middle of the zone to him,” Farquhar said.

In the span of an early inning, Seth Smith was worth two runs to the Mariners. He led off the game with a homer to right.

In the bottom of the inning, Smith made a leaping catching over the wall in left, robbing Jones of a sure two-run homer.

After receiving a warm ovation — many of the Orioles fans standing and applauding — before his first at-bat, Cruz left those same fans groaning during his second at-bat, crushing a three-run homer to left-center to make it 4-1.

It was the last lead the Mariners would have in the game.