SEATTLE — SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners rocked the Orioles' pitching staff for back-to-back, eighth-inning home runs for the second game in a row last night, but this time it didn't change the outcome.
Jay Buhner and pinch hitter Greg Pirkl hit consecutive home runs to left off left-handed reliever Jim Poole, but the Orioles held on to defeat Seattle, 6-4.
Winning a matchup of two of the American League's top pitchers, Orioles right-hander Mike Mussina out-dueled Seattle left-hander Randy Johnson and gave the Orioles a franchise first, two five-game winners in April.
Lee Smith pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 12th save in 12 opportunities. Smith has saved all five of Mussina's victories.
Brady Anderson's three-run double in the fourth inning was the biggest hit in support of Mussina.
Mussina pitched seven innings, allowed one run and seven hits, struck out one and walked one. Orioles manager Johnny Oates, who had visited Mussina on the mound before the start of the seventh, replaced Mussina with left-hander Jim Poole to start the eighth inning.
Oates pulled Mussina because the pitcher had a sore groin. "I first noticed it about the fourth and it got a little worse after that," Mussina said. "But I'm not worried about it."
Mussina (5-1, 2.89 ERA) and McDonald (5-0) have combined for as many wins as the Mariners (10-13), who held onto first place in the American League West, helping the Orioles to a 15-8 April record, second in club history to the 1969 team that went 16-7.
As was the case the last time Mussina faced the Mariners, both benches emptied after a batter was hit by a pitch. Unlike last time, no punches were thrown.
Last season's brawl, triggered when Mussina hit Bill Haselman with a pitch on the left shoulder, contributed to Mussina's second-half shoulder troubles after he was hurt during the melee.
Benches emptied last night when Johnson grazed Anderson with a breaking ball in the sixth and the two exchanged words, but nothing more.
A lineup change of heart by Oates turned out beneficial. Plan A called for a lineup of nine right-handed hitters to face American League strikeout king Randy Johnson, the Seattle Mariners' lanky left-hander.
Oates shifted to Plan B, leaving Anderson at the top of his batting order.
"I figure it will be a low-scoring game, and I want as much defense as I can get out there," Oates said before the game. "And Brady has done about as well against him as anyone we've got."
Anderson made Oates feel good about the decision, ripping a bases-loaded double to left that turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead. A Kingdome crowd of 50,006 watched Mussina get the better of Johnson, whose career record against the Orioles dropped to 1-5.
Going into the game, Anderson was 4-for-16 against Johnson, who struck him out with the bases loaded in the second inning.
When someone misinformed Anderson before the game that he was 3-for-12 against Johnson, Anderson corrected: "You remember every hit you get against him. I know have four hits against him."
He won't soon forget his fifth. Winning for the fifth time in six games, the Orioles ended Johnson's seven-game Kingdome winning streak.
Johnson lasted six innings. He struck out 11, including the side in order in the third, walked four, gave up nine hits and had five earned runs. He reached double figures in strikeouts for the 40th time in his 169th start.
Third baseman Leo Gomez, playing because Chris Sabo's back troubles temporarily have turned him into a designated hitter, stretched the Orioles' lead to 5-1 with his first home run, coming with one on and one out in the sixth.
Starting for the sixth time in the past eight games, Gomez had his third consecutive multi-hit game.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Reggie Jefferson's two-out single to right that scored Dale Sveum from second.
Mussina settled down, retiring 10 in a row until Tino Martinez led off the fifth with a single, but did not score from second on Felix Fermin's single to right. Orioles first baseman Jack Voigt cut right fielder Lonnie Smith's throw and threw out Fermin at first. Martinez had started toward home, but turned and went back to third, preserving the Orioles' two-run lead.
In the first, Jeffrey Hammonds made it to second with one out when Seattle second baseman Torey Lovullo fielded his grounder and hurried a throw in his attempt to get Hammonds at first.
Lovullo was charged with an error for the high throw that allowed Hammonds to take an extra base on the infield hit.
Hammonds attempted to score on Cal Ripken's single to right, but was thrown out on a one-hop throw from Buhner. Hammonds knocked Haselman over on the play, but was called out when Haselman held the ball. Hammonds left the game with two small lacerations, one on the left cheek, the other above the lip.
Opponent: Seattle Mariners
Site: Kingdome, Seattle
Time: 4:35 p.m.TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Orioles' Arthur Rhodes (1-3, 8.02) vs. Mariners' Chris Bosio (0-3, 3.13)