One team, the visiting Seattle Mariners, entered this week’s four-game series at Camden Yards with a propensity for winning close and late. Their opponent, the host Orioles, have spent the entire season devising new ways to lose.

Thursday made it four games in a row where form held.

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Despite minor league pitching call-ups Jimmy Yacabonis and Yefry Ramírez’s combined nine innings of two-run ball, the Orioles’ sloppy defense and shaky relief corps conspired for a 4-2, 10-inning loss, their fifth straight. The Mariners’ four-game sweep — by a total of six runs — dropped the Orioles to 23-57 this season, this before an announced 14,623.

“Had that same issue — we scored two runs,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I would have taken that and been real, real happy with it going into the game. Those two kids were impressive.”

In the 10th inning, after Yacabonis and Ramírez gave the Orioles their best, Miguel Castro allowed an infield single to Dee Gordon, who scored from first when Colby Rasmus misplayed a single by Jean Segura in center field for the first of two errors in the inning. A second run scored on a single by Nelson Cruz, who drove in three in the win.

That miniature outburst allowed by Castro, who took his second loss of the series, stood in stark contrast to the efficiency of the other young pitchers the Orioles sent out to face the Mariners (51-31).

Yacabonis, who until this spring had never started as a professional, gave the Orioles about what could be expected from a pitcher limited to five innings or 70 pitches.

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He worked around a one-out single in the second with a pair of strikeouts, stranded a leadoff single in the third inning and had only one bad sequence, a five-pitch walk to open the fourth inning followed by an elevated fastball that Cruz slammed just over the right-center-field wall to put the Orioles down 2-0.

“I was going for a sinker, low and away,” Yacabonis said. “It kind of just ran more than sank. He got underneath it and hit a silo shot. I was hoping it stayed in.”

Manny Machado unloaded on a center-cut curveball in the bottom of the fourth to halve the deficit, his 20th home run of the season, and two batters later, Chris Davis homered for the second consecutive game to tie it.

With five innings of three-hit, scoreless ball from Ramírez, the Orioles’ two young pitchers gave them a combined nine innings and a chance to win. That was a bonus, considering they were replacing injured right-hander Dylan Bundy, who typically could keep the Orioles in a game like that himself.

“I thought I did well,” Yacabonis said. “I thought there was a couple of times where I tried to make my pitches too good instead of just executing the pitch, and that’s just going to come with fine-tuning and experience, I think.”

The two call-ups ultimately switched roles, with longtime reliever Yacabonis starting and Ramírez, a typical starter, following.

“I try to do the same things: attack the hitters, go after the hitters,” Ramírez said through interpreter Ramón Alarcón. “As a starter, you have more time to warm up, get ready, plan ahead. [In] the bullpen, you have to work a little bit quicker and get ready quicker, but I try to attack the hitters as well.”

The spotty offense, which collected only four hits outside of the two home runs, didn’t help the young arms out, and none of it was enough to spare the blushes of a four-game home sweep, one that took on familiar beats. On Monday, Andrew Cashner pitched a quality start and left with the game tied after six innings. But Castro and Tanner Scott combined to give up a two-run seventh that left the Orioles down for good, 5-3.

Jimmy Yacabonis' first Orioles start Thursday a reward for unconventional commitment to his transition

The Orioles are giving the clearest indication yet that their transition of right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis from reliever to starter is for real with his first big league start Thursday, an indicator of both the path they want him to take and the state of the organization's high-minors pitching.

Kevin Gausman allowed a run in six strong innings Tuesday and could have been a winner after Machado put the Orioles ahead in the bottom of that inning, only for Darren O'Day to leave after two hits with a hamstring injury. Scott then allowed a pair of runs, charged to O’Day, in the 3-2 loss.

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Wednesday wasn't much better, with closer Zach Britton allowing a two-run home run in the ninth inning that erased the advantage gained by Chris Davis' three-run shot onto Eutaw Street just moments before. The Orioles fell in 11 innings, 8-7.

Not long ago, the Orioles were the team who could scratch across enough runs to win every game of a four-game series by a total of six runs. Not anymore.

“I don’t hang it on one thing — that’s very easy to do,” Showalter said. “We’re not scoring. We scored some runs yesterday, and we weren’t able to do it out of the bullpen. … We’ve had to stretch a lot of people. I think the bullpen, making runs matter when we get ahead — we’re just not scoring enough runs to think, ‘How much is enough?’ And every defensive lapse multiplies when you’re going through that stage.”

Said Davis: “After the end of the road trip, the series in Atlanta, I thought we were maybe starting to kind of get things rolling. But I just feel like we’re kind of shooting ourselves in the foot right now. We get a lead, and we end up going back out there and giving it up. Those kind of games — the game last night, I feel like it absolutely wiped us out. To come back there and have them tie it up in the top of the ninth, those games, they take a lot out of you. i think you see a lot of carryover. I think you saw that today. I thought we were dead. We had to scratch to get a couple runs, and unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough.”

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