SEATTLE — On the night a 20-year-old home run record for June fell at the hands of an improbable hero, the Orioles' seven-game winning streak went down with it.
The Orioles fell to the Seattle Mariners, 5-3, to open their four-game series at Safeco Field on Thursday night, but their first offense of the night gave a forgettable evening meaning.
Left fielder Hyun Soo Kim, whose two home runs entering the game were tied for fewest among Orioles regulars, pulled a solo homer to left field to give the Orioles 56 home runs in June, breaking a record set by the Oakland Athletics in 1996.
Otherwise, the Orioles (47-31) didn't prove up to the task. They managed just four hits off Mariners starter Taijuan Walker.
"We knew he was going to be a challenge, and he was on top of his game," manager Buck Showalter said. "I think it gets magnified because we weren't scoring any runs."
Once Walker left the game, the Orioles saw an eighth-inning rally fall short. Kim and third baseman Manny Machado each had two-out RBI singles in the eighth, but first baseman Chris Davis struck out to end the inning.
Starter Chris Tillman (10-2) took his second loss of the season as his skid into the All-Star break continued, though rookie Dylan Bundy continued to impress in long relief, allowing just an unearned run in 2 2/3 innings.
"We made a good run at 'em, and Chris didn't let it get away from him, but we had a couple situations defensively where we probably could have made it a little closer," Showalter said. "You have to tip your hat to them."
One pitch not enough: When Tillman struggles, it's often because he doesn't have an off-speed pitch to keep teams off his fastball. That was the case Thursday, when Tillman had issues getting strikes with any of his changeup, curveball or slider, and paid the price.
"There were a lot of deep counts tonight," Tillman said. "I think I made some good pitches, but the pitches in between weren't very competitive. Just wasn't able to command my off-speed like I have been. That makes their job easier when you are not commanding the off-speed stuff."
He started slowly, allowing a first-inning run, but kept the Mariners at bay until the fifth inning, when left fielder Seth Smith homered on a slider that caught too much of the plate to score two.
Tillman allowed four runs on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts, a hit batter and a wild pitch in 4 2/3 innings. His ERA climbed to 3.71, and Tillman has now allowed 14 runs in his past 14 2/3 innings.
"I never felt like I didn't have it," Tillman said. "It was there, it was close. Just wasn't able to make some pitches with the off-speed stuff when I needed to."
Tough night for Trumbo: In right fielder Mark Trumbo's return to Seattle, where he spent the second half of the 2015 season, the major league home run leader had a night to forget. In the second inning, Trumbo had a line drive to the warning track in center field snared by Leonys Martin.
Then, in the Mariners' three-run fifth inning, Trumbo's defensive limitations showed. He was a step away from a line drive off the right-field wall by Nelson Cruz that turned into a double. Two batters later, he had a bases-loaded bloop off the bat of first baseman Dae-Ho Lee fall in, though he threw Cruz out at third.
How bizarre: Machado nearly turned another highlight-reel double-play with second baseman Jonathan Schoop in the seventh inning, this with a high degree of difficulty. Bundy broke Lee's bat at the handle, and the barrel went flying at Machado as he charged forward from third to field the resulting ball. It nearly hit him, and the slow Lee would have been doubled off had a crew chief replay review not revealed that Schoop's foot came off the bag while making the transfer.