The video scoreboards at Safeco Field weren't working throughout the Orioles' series opener against the Seattle Mariners on Monday night, sparing the Orioles a visual reminder of just how thoroughly they were dominated by Jarrod Washburn.
The Mariners left-hander turned in the finest performance of his lengthy career, tossing a one-hit shutout against the reeling Orioles, who offered little resistance in falling, 5-0, in front of announced 24,018.
"He pitched one of the best games in major league baseball all season," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "I give him credit. He was on his game. Boy, he certainly pitched a gem."
In a masterful 110-pitch performance, Washburn retired the first 11 Orioles and the final 16 as only Nick Markakis' opposite-field single that bounced just in front of left fielder Ryan Langerhans with two outs in the fourth inning saved the Orioles the indignity of a perfect game.
They still absorbed their fifth shutout of the season and became the first Orioles team to be victimized by a one-hit shutout since the Toronto Blue Jays' Paul Menhart did it Aug. 2, 1995.
The Orioles, who got another quality start from rookie Brad Bergesen in the loss, have dropped three in a row and seven of nine as they continue to limp toward the All-Star break. In seven games against the Mariners this season, the Orioles have scored a total of 12 runs, including only one in 16 innings against Washburn this year.
"If it wasn't for Nick's little hit out to left, he's got a perfect game. He was that good," Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff said. "I saw one pitch to hit, and I hit it to left. He's just one of those guys. I feel comfortable against him every time I step into the box, and he just gets you out. That's just something he's done my whole career. I never feel like I'm overmatched. He just gets me out every time."
Bergesen probably had his worst start in more than a month, but that said more about his recent string of solid performances than his effort Monday, when he allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings in his first loss since May 19, a span of nine outings.
"He was off today and didn't have his great stuff, but yet he still gave us a chance to win," Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said. "I think he did a tremendous job without his 'A' stuff."
The Orioles starter made a few mistakes and was also taken by surprise when Mariners first baseman Russell Branyan swung at his 3-0 pitch in the first inning, sending it deep over the wall in left-center field for his 21st homer. Ichiro Suzuki added a two-out RBI single in the fifth after shortstop Robert Andino's two-base throwing error, and Chris Woodward slammed a two-run double in the sixth.
"I'll take Brad Bergesen, the way he pitches, the way he competes," Trembley said. "He keeps you in the game. It just so happened that Washburn was much better tonight."
Washburn was so dominant that he went to three-ball counts to only three of the 28 batters that he faced. He wasn't overpowering, just extremely precise, throwing 75 of his 110 pitches for strikes. The Orioles hit about five balls hard the entire night, and all of them went right at Mariners defenders.
He struck out three, getting most of his outs on weakly struck ground balls or pop-ups.
"Let's give credit where credit is due," Trembley said when asked whether he was satisfied with his lineup's approach. "Washburn pitched a great game. He completely dominated the game. That's as good of a game I've seen pitched against us all year."
It was Washburn's first one-hitter and the first by a Mariner since Safeco Field opened during the 1999 season.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun