Off the floor
The Orioles looked like they were done after eight innings, but they scored three runs in the ninth off the Mariners' bullpen after starter Felix Hernandez left the game. Hernandez allowed no runs on five hits, but he was removed with his pitch count at 97, and the Orioles pounced on relievers Eric O'Flaherty and Mark Lowe. Aubrey Huff's grounder scored Nick Markakis, who led off with a double, and a wild pitch tied the score. The last four batters reached with two outs, including Luis Hernandez, whose first hit of the season scored Jay Payton and completed the rally.
Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie would like to have two pitches back yesterday. He surrendered a two-out double to Richie Sexson in the third inning that scored Ichiro Suzuki and gave Seattle a 1-0 lead. He also grooved an 89 mph fastball in the sixth inning that Raul Ibanez launched 380 feet for his first home run of the season. That one really stung because Guthrie got ahead of Ibanez 0-2. He retired the last six batters he faced after the homer and became the first Orioles starter to go seven innings this season.
A huge relief
The bullpen continues to be a major strength through the first week of the season. Randor Bierd and Dennis Sarfate each tossed a scoreless inning yesterday. The Orioles' relievers have allowed only two runs - both from Greg Aquino - in 18 1/3 innings. Bierd, a Rule 5 pick from the Detroit Tigers, escaped a two-out jam in the eighth after allowing a single to Ibanez and walking Sexson. Sarfate struck out Brad Wilkerson on a 96 mph fastball to start the ninth and retired the next two batters without the ball leaving the infield.
The four-game series and first homestand of the season conclude today. Daniel Cabrera makes his second start, trying to take some air out of a 13.50 ERA. He will be opposed by Carlos Silva, who wasn't supposed to pitch in this series. Silva moved up when the Mariners scratched Erik Bedard, which caused a ripple effect in the rotation. Markakis hit three homers off Silva during an Aug. 22, 2006, game when the right-hander pitched for the Minnesota Twins. Cabrera is 5-1 lifetime against the Mariners, his only loss coming last season. He registered a 7.85 ERA in three starts against Seattle last year.