Oriole pitching, which had been overpowering during this home stand, fell apart this afternoon to the dismay of 42,000 Memorial Stadium fans on cap day.
Baltimore starter Mike Flanagan, and rusty relievers Tim Stoddard and Tippy Martinez could not hold the team's 5-2, seven inning lead and the Seattle Mariners rallied for a 7-5 victory.
In the eighth, Flannagan gave up singles to Ted Cox, Juan Beniquez and Bruce Bochte, good for one run.
"I had good stuff today," Flanagan said shaking his head in disbelief. "Good fast ball, curve was breaking well. I should have had a shutout and didn't. I'm very, very frustrated right now."
Ther Orioles were further frustrated when Stoddard took over. He gave up the tying runs in the eighth inning and put the winning run on in the ninth.
Second baseman Larry Milbourne delivered the winning hit, a two-run triple off Martinez.
It was Stoddard's third loss without a win. Seattle reliever Shane Rawley picked up the win and is 3-1.
Flanagan allowed two runs in the Seattle first when Beniquez singled and Tom Paciorek homered. Paciorek's blast barely eluded Benny Ayala's outstretched glove in left field.
Flanagan confused the Mariners the next six innings with a sharp curve, hard slider and fast ball, allowing only two hits.
The Oriole bats got started in the fourth inning against Seattle starter Rick Honeycutt. Baltimore cut the lead to 2-1 when Mariner third baseman Jim Anderson let Mark Belanger's hot grounder shoot between his legs. The error scored Ayala, who had singled to begin the inning.
The Orioles might have scored again, but Belanger and Lee May, who had also singled, got caught between bases and May was out at second.
In the sixth Ayala led off with a double high off the left field wall. Consecutive sacrifice flies by Dempsey and DeCinces tied the score, 2-2.
Then came the Orioles' big three-run seventh inning, featuring triples by Belanger and Lenn Sakata (two RBI) and Ken Singleton's run-scoring single, his third hit of the game.
After the Mariners rally in thme eighth, Rawley set down six Orioles in a row to send the Mariners on their way with two victories in the three-game series.
The recent excellence and endurance of the Oriole starters hurt Stoddard and Martinez. The relievers have rusted in the bullpen while the starters were pitching seven complete games in the last 10.
Stoddard had pitched only two innings during the homestand and Martinez hadn't worked since June 14.
"You get pretty flat when you're a short reliever sitting in the bullpen for days and days," Ray Miller, the pitching coach, said.
"Having a string of complete games like we've had is one of the problems of being a short relief pitcher. Tim was throwing as hard as usual today -- 89, 90, 91 miles per hour. He was just a little flat from not pitching in a game situation for so long. There's nothing you can do about that."