BALTIMORE — Instead of using the long ball to win, the Seattle Mariners took a different approach.
Take a walk, drop down a bunt, make a play in the field. Employing those basic skills, the Mariners beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 Monday night for just their second victory in eight games.
Dee Gordon’s slick seventh-inning bunt was the lone hit in a two-run uprising that put Seattle ahead for good, and the Mariners took advantage of 10 walks to get back on track after losing successive series at Yankee Stadium and in Boston.
“Most definitely, it’s the little things that win ballgames and we were trying to do those things tonight,” said left fielder Denard Span, who contributed a solo homer and a run-saving catch. “Last couple series we weren’t able to do that, but tonight we were able to manufacture a win.”
Gordon gave the Mariners an early lead with a two-run single, then provided the key hit in a seventh inning that began with the score tied at 3.
Guillermo Heredia drew a leadoff walk from Miguel Castro (2-3) and advanced when Gordon pushed a bunt inside the first-base line and beat the throw by a step.
“Dee’s a really accomplished bunter, trying to move people along. That’s his game,” manager Scott Servais said.
A walk then loaded the bases, and Heredia scored on a wild pitch before Gordon scooted home on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Haniger.
“We drew a lot of walks, went deep into counts, bunts, sac flies,” Servais said. “Been doing that most of the season. That’s the way we’re built. We don’t want to rely just on the home runs.”
Backed by several fine defensive plays — most notably by shortstop Jean Segura — Seattle starter Felix Hernandez (7-6) earned his first win in four starts, allowing three runs in six innings.
Edwin Diaz worked the ninth for his major league-leading 28th save.
Jonathan Schoop homered and had two RBI for the Orioles.
In the ninth inning, Baltimore reliever Darren O’Day was called for a balk and subsequently ejected by home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater for arguing. Manager Buck Showalter joined the fray, and earned his 32nd career ejection.
“He’s just over-umpiring. Inventing an argument,” Showalter insisted, pointing out that both of Day’s career balks have been called by Scheurwater.
The manager did, however, concede that the Orioles didn’t do enough to win.
“We walked 10 guys. Didn’t have but four hits,” Showalter said. “Kind of hard to win a game.”
Seattle jumped on top in the second inning when Orioles starter Andrew Cashner gave up three walks and Gordon’s bases-loaded single.
Schoop led off the fifth with his eighth home run, only the second long ball allowed by Hernandez in five starts this month.
Span answered with a solo shot in the sixth for a 3-1 lead, but Baltimore pulled even in the bottom half on run-scoring grounders by Trey Mancini and Schoop.