SEATTLE — Baltimore’s 10-game West Coast road trip was a major test whether the Orioles could hold their own against three playoff-caliber teams across the country.
It was characterized by closely contested games — seven games were decided by two runs or fewer — in which strong pitching and clutch hitting was often the difference.
In the last game of the trip, on Sunday at Safeco Field, the Orioles finished out their West Coast swing with a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
After blowing a one-run eighth-inning lead, the Orioles plated the winning run in the 10th on Manny Machado’s sacrifice fly to center field.
The Orioles (58-46) ended their trip 6-4, winning five of their last seven. They have won 17 of their past 25 road games.
The Orioles are also 17-10 against the AL West and their .629 winning percentage against the AL West is the highest by any AL club against the division.
Runs were scarce throughout the series playing inside expansive Safeco Field, but the Orioles grinded out the winning run in the 10th off Seattle reliever Yoervis Medina.
Adam Jones opened the inning with a leadoff double down the left field line and Medina issued back-to-back walks to Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis to load the bases.
Machado, playing in his second game back from a four-game absence with lower back spasms, then took an 0-2 pitch from Medina to the warning track in center, well deep enough to score Jones from third.
Closer Zach Britton retired the Mariners in order in the 10th for his 20th save in 23 opportunities. He’s converted five straight save chances since allowing a walk-off homer in Oakland in the first game of the trip. Left-hander T.J. McFarland (4-2) retired the lefty-heavy Mariners in the bottom of the ninth to earn the win.
The Orioles were four outs away from a 2-1 win, but right-hander Darren O’Day — who hadn’t allowed a run over his previous 14 outings — yielded a two-out solo homer to Mariners catcher Mike Zunino.
O’Day hadn’t allowed a homer since May 22.
In the top part of the inning, the Orioles took the lead on Machado’s two-out bases-loaded infield single.
Machado, playing his second game back after a four-game absence with lower back spasms, hit a grounder deep into the hole at shortstop that rookie Chris Taylor backhanded but his throw drew second baseman Robinson Cano off the bag, allowing Adam Jones to score from third with the go-ahead run.
Despite allowing eight hits over six innings, Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez recorded his fourth straight quality start, allowing just one run while recording one strikeout and two walks.
— Baltimore Sun