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Orioles waste three bases-loaded chances, bullpen unravels in 8th in 5-2 loss to Mariners

When Chance Sisco walked to load the bases in Tuesday night’s second inning, it offered a potential turning point for the slumping Orioles catcher. Even as he struggled offensively in 2020, he showed a knack for taking a walk, but he had yet to do so in 2021 before his one-out free pass from Seattle Mariners starter Justin Dunn.

But the two batters behind him could not capitalize on the full bags, and when given the opportunity to bat with the bases loaded himself in both the sixth and eighth innings, Sisco grounded out each time. When the Mariners loaded the bases in their half of the eighth, though, they made the most of it in a 5-2 victory.

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After Sisco grounded into a shift to end the eighth, Baltimore right-hander Travis Lakins Sr. allowed a leadoff single and consecutive walks to load the bases with no outs. Manager Brandon Hyde turned to left-hander Tanner Scott, who surrendered a sacrifice fly to Kyle Seager ahead of a three-run home run by Kyle Lewis that represented either team’s first hit with a runner in scoring position.

The game entered the decisive eighth tied at 1 after Seager and Rio Ruiz exchanged solo home runs across the fourth and fifth innings. Before Ruiz scored with two outs in the ninth on a Trey Mancini single, the Orioles (14-16) were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position Tuesday and 0-for-16 in such situations in the series, though they managed a 5-3 win Monday night. DJ Stewart, in the lineup after missing Monday with a sore back, struck out representing the tying run to end the game, dropping Baltimore’s average with runners in scoring position this season to .205.

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“We had so many opportunities to score and just didn’t get the big hit,” Hyde said. “We had traffic on the bases multiple times. Just couldn’t drive them in.”

Cedric Mullins began the contest with a walk against Dunn, stealing second as Austin Hays struck out, but Dunn ended the frame with him still there. Baltimore loaded the bases with one out in the second, but Dunn settled in from there, retiring the next two batters and seven more after that before Ruiz’s first-pitch home run in the fifth.

The Orioles again threatened with one out in the sixth when they put two on against Dunn in the sixth. Against reliever Kendall Graveman, Ryan Mountcastle stung a line drive to first base that Statcast gave an expected batting average of .530, but it was caught for the second out, though Hyde pointed to that hard-hit ball the other way as “the kind of at-bats I’m looking for” with runners in scoring position. Graveman loaded load the bases with a walk, but Sisco’s first bases-loaded groundout kept the game tied through six.

Mountcastle’s two-out infield single and a Freddy Galvis hit-by-pitch in the eighth gave Sisco another chance, but his groundout to second was Baltimore’s final at-bat with the score even.

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“We just got beat tonight,” Hyde said. “But we beat ourselves by not being able to push runs across earlier in the game.”

Behind the plate, Sisco helped right-hander Jorge López finally pitch a scoreless fifth inning. Having pitched into the fifth inning in all of six starts, López entered Tuesday yet to escape the frame without giving up a run.

He needed some help to finally avoid that fate. J.P. Crawford drew a one-out walk, but López and Sisco combined to nab him trying to steal second. But Dylan Moore walked and Sam Haggerty singled to put two on with two outs, and Hyde called on Adam Plutko for the inning’s final out with Seattle’s lineup entering its third turn.

Plutko got leadoff man Mitch Haniger to ground out and strand both of López’s runners, helping drop López’s fifth-inning ERA to 42.43. Including Seager’s home run, Lopez has a 3.00 ERA in the first four innings across his six starts.

“It’s something I have to work on,” López said. “I’ve got to be better and get through those pitches.”

ORIOLES@MARINERS

Wednesday, 3:40 p.m.

TV: MASN Radio: 105.7 FM

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