Mariners’ defense falls apart as Orioles rally to win in 9th

SEATTLE — The Baltimore Orioles wasted a big opportunity in the seventh inning. Not in the ninth.

The Orioles took advantage of two errors by Seattle Mariners second baseman Jose Lopez for five ninth-inning runs and went on for a 5-3 victory Wednesday night.

“This was probably one of our better team wins we’ve had all season, playing all 27 outs,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “Guys were really calm in their approach after the seventh. It would have been easy to let the air out but they wouldn’t let it happen. They kept attacking.”

After being frustrated in the seventh when they couldn’t break through with the bases loaded and no outs, the Orioles found themselves in the same situation in the ninth.

The rally came against Mariners closer David Aardsma (2-3), who blew just his second save in 19 chances.

Down 3-0, Melvin Mora opened with a double, Gregg Zaun walked and Oscar Salazar singled to load the bases once again with no outs. Felix Pie ran for Salazar.

Adam Jones beat out a slow infield single to third to score Mora. Nick Markakis then hit a potential double-play ball to Lopez, who dropped it. Zaun scored. Ty Wigginton followed with a two-run single to center for a 4-3 lead.

Lopez also had a throwing error to first later in the inning, allowing Markakis to score.

“We took advantage of our opportunities,” Trembley said. “You could feel the game turning in a hurry and it was turning in our favor.

The Orioles had been 2-43 when trailing after eight innings.

“Today we put ourselves in position to win,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “Today was one of those games where the momentum got away from him (Aardsma). This bullpen has done an awful lot for us. You go through stretches where you struggle a bit. Now is the time to regroup a little bit.”

Lopez had given the Mariners a first-inning lead with his 12th home run, a two-run shot off the left-field pole. He hit an 0-2 pitch from Orioles starter David Hernandez.

Brian Bass (5-2), worked two innings for the victory. George Sherrill earned his 19th save in 22 opportunities.

“You’re always hoping, but kind of the way we were going with getting guys on and not getting them over or in, it was looking pretty bleak,” said Sherrill, who didn’t expect to pitch in the ninth. “But we hung in there and got some runs off a pretty good closer.”

Lopez, who now has 11 errors, said of the first ninth-inning error, “all my life, all my career, I want to make sure I get one (out) first, but I tried to do too much on that one. I wanted to make a quick throw to second base and you see what happened.”

Jason Vargas went six innings, limiting the Orioles to just three hits. He struck out six but also issued a season-high five walks.

The Orioles’ seventh was also triggered by an error. Zaun opened with a single off Miguel Batista. Pinch-hitter Salazar drew a four-pitch walk. Jones then bounced a potential double-play grounder to third baseman Chris Woodward. He dropped it on the exchange, loading the bases with no outs.

Garrett Olson, the team’s fifth starter working in relief before the break, took over. He struck out Markakis then induced Wigginton to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

“There were some situations earlier in the game where we fell through on. That happens,” Markakis said. “It showed we played all nine innings and every out.”

NOTES: Orioles C/DH Aubrey Huff injured his groin in the ninth. He will be reexamined Thursday. The Birds were forced to use Luke Scott at first and Wigginton at short in the bottom of the ninth. Orioles 2B Brian Roberts missed his second straight start with an upper respiratory infection but pinch hit in the ninth. … SS Cesar Izturis (appendicitis), rehabbing with Double-A Bowie, is expected to be activated Friday. … RHP Dennis Sarfate (circulatory condition) threw a two-inning simulated game Wednesday and will be sent out on a rehab assignment. … Mariners SS Yuniesky Betancourt (hamstring) began his rehab Wednesday with Triple-A Tacoma. He is expected to play at least three games, two at second base. The Mariners are considering plying him at second and moving Lopez to third.

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