Roller-coaster victory features lots of thrills

The Baltimore Sun

SEATTLE -- The Orioles had to overcome another poor outing by Adam Loewen on Thursday night and a five-run deficit to eventually take a two-run lead, thanks to a four-run seventh inning that was highlighted by Adam Jones' two-run double against his former team.

That lead was quickly eliminated in the bottom of the inning when Ichiro Suzuki hit a game-tying, two-run home run off the suddenly vulnerable Jamie Walker. But just as the Orioles started to fret about losing their lead, Brian Roberts put his team back in front with a homer leading off the eighth inning.

And not until George Sherrill got Jose Lopez to ground out in the ninth could the Orioles exhale. They had a wild 8-7 victory over the Seattle Mariners before an announced 16,727 at Safeco Field.

The victory gave the Orioles a series victory and was their sixth over the Mariners in seven games this season.

The Orioles (13-9) started their comeback in the fourth inning when Jay Payton took Jarrod Washburn deep to left field for his second home run, cutting the deficit to 5-1. They added a run in the fifth inning when Kevin Millar hit into a double play and another in the sixth on Jones' infield single.

Trailing 5-3, the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh off Arthur Rhodes, who walked Nick Markakis before being removed by manager John McLaren. On his way back to the dugout, McLaren engaged in a yelling match with plate umpire Casey Moser and was ejected.

Millar brought the Orioles within one with a sacrifice fly, and Aubrey Huff tied the game with a single up the middle. A flyout by Payton and a walk to Ramon Hernandez loaded the bases again with two outs.

Jones, a prized Mariners prospect before he was dealt to the Orioles this offseason in the Erik Bedard trade, got behind 0-2 quickly against Mark Lowe. He then barely stayed alive, fouling off two straight pitches. Then he then hammered Lowe's 1-2 pitch off the wall in left-center field, barely missing a grand slam. It went for a two-run double, and the Orioles, who once appeared out of the game, led 7-5.

But it didn't last. Matt Albers allowed a leadoff single to Yuniesky Betancourt in the seventh, prompting manager Dave Trembley to bring in left-hander Walker to face Suzuki. It backfired when Suzuki pounded Walker's hanging curveball into the right-field seats to tie the game at 7.

Roberts then led off the eighth with the homer to right field off Sean Green, making it 8-7.

Monday's day off enabled the Orioles to push back Loewen's start two days, giving him the opportunity to throw another bullpen session and work on his suspect fastball command. In his first three starts, he allowed 16 hits and walked 12 in 15 2/3 innings.

His start Thursday night began to unravel in the second inning , when Adrian Beltre hit a 3-2 pitch into the left-field seats, giving the Mariners a 1-0 lead.

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