Associated Press – SEATTLE — The music was bumping and the smiles were easy for the second night in a row in the Mariners’ clubhouse.
Winning two games in a row for the first time since mid-May will get everyone in a good mood.
“We’re streaking,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said after a 5-2 win over Baltimore on Thursday night. “I’ll keep my clothes on, but we’re streaking.”
Santana’s homers helped the Mariners win back-to-back games for the first time since May 13-14 against Oakland and continued the Orioles’ spiral. Baltimore has lost nine straight, and have just three wins in June.
Santana tied it at 2 with his 16th homer to right-center field off Orioles starter Dylan Bundy (3-9) in the sixth inning. Kyle Seager and Mac Williamsonfollowed with RBI singles. The home run came a day after Santana hit two homers to fuel a sweep-averting Seattle victory over Kansas City.
“He’s on one of those streaks right now,” Servais said. “Hopefully, he can keep it going.”
LeBlanc (4-2) wiped out another difficult start by a Mariners opener with a steady outing over 6 1/3 innings in which he struck out seven. Seattle turned to reliever Tayler Scott to start with few other options in the bullpen. Scott walked three of the Orioles’ first five batters and was pulled after throwing 13 balls on 23 pitches.
“Just give me the ball, I’ll throw it,” LeBlanc said when asked about the use of an opener. “That’s about all I can say.”
And throw he did, entering the game an inning ahead of schedule.
LeBlanc gave up a two-run single to Rio Ruiz before recording the third out of the inning, but then sat down Orioles over the next six innings to keep the Mariners in the game. He gave up a leadoff single to Pedro Severino in the third, but struck out three straight to end the threat. He walked Dwight Smith Jr. and intentionally walked Hanser Alberto in the sixth, but also got out of that inning with two strikeouts. His team backed him up with a double play in the seventh after Richie Martin‘s leadoff single.
The seven Mariners openers now have a combined ERA of 19.50. Scott and LeBlanc combined in this one to give up just two runs and four hits in seven innings. Austin Adams struck out the side in the eighth, and Roenis Eliaspitched the ninth for his eighth save.
“Everybody gets caught up in the first inning and what’s going on there,” Servais said. “It’s been a struggle for us. We haven’t found that guy yet to go out there and put a zero up consistently. But overall, what you’re looking for there, it’s working. I know people will disagree with that because they get caught up in the first inning, but at the end of the day we get seven innings out of our starter and another guy.”
Bundy appeared to be cruising as he matched his season high with his eighth strikeout to start the sixth. But five of the next six Mariners got hits, starting with Santana.
“We didn’t score,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.” We had four hits off Wade LeBlanc and scored two runs in the first. I don’t know if we hit a ball hard after that. We’re not making it easy on ourselves. We don’t tack on runs. It’s difficult to win that way.”
Smith returned to his regular spot in left field for Baltimore after recovering from a concussion. Smith ran into the wall chasing a fly ball on June 7 against the Texas Rangers. He entered the concussion protocol and said his head was fuzzy for a week to 10 days. Despite missing 13 days, he remains the Orioles’ RBI leader and vowed to continue running headlong toward the wall.
“I’m going to play my game, regardless,” Smith said. “I’m not going to think about getting hurt again. That’s when you do get hurt.”
In other moves, the Orioles designated RHP Dan Straily for assignment and recalled RHP Evan Phillips from Triple-A Norfolk. Manager Brandon Hyde said he hopes Straily clears waivers and returns to the organization, and believes the pitcher just needs “a fresh start.”
Orioles: Rookie pitcher John Meanswas put on the 10-day injured list and will miss his scheduled start Friday in Seattle to rest a sore left shoulder. Means (6-4, 2.67 ERA) has been the Orioles’ best pitcher this season. The left-hander hopes it’s a temporary setback and said he had a similar situation while pitching in college: “It was one of those things where I missed a start and was fine for the rest of the season.” … Outfielder Trey Mancini hopes to return to the lineup Friday against the Mariners, but acknowledged he may be out longer with a bruised elbow. Mancini was hit by a pitch in the first inning of Wednesday’s loss to the Oakland Athletics. “It looked like a golf ball was in my elbow,” Mancini said.
Mariners: Servais acknowledged right fielder Mitch Haniger might be out until after the All-Star break as he recovers from surgery on a ruptured testicle. Haniger is increasing activity, but has yet to run. Servais said he would also need a minor league rehab assignment before returning.
Orioles: Hyde was unsure who would start against the Mariners on Friday, calling it a bullpen day.
Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (6-6, 4.14 ERA) will look to continue his three-game win streak in the second game of the Baltimore series.