|Seattle (12-16) «||1||0||0||2||0||3||0||0||x||6||11||0|
SEATTLE -- After two tough starts on the road, Joe Saunders was back home where he is nearly invincible.
Saunders allowed his first earned run in three home starts this season but pitched his eighth career complete game to lead the Seattle Mariners past the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 on Monday night before the smallest crowd in Safeco Field history.
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Saunders (2-3) gave up four hits, walked one and struck out two in his first complete game since April 27, 2012, while improving to 8-0 at the Mariners' home. This season, he is 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in Seattle and 0-3 with a 12.51 ERA in three road starts, although neither he nor his manager can explain the numbers.
"I don't know," Mariners skipper Eric Wedge said. "That's the beauty of baseball. Some guys just have more success against certain teams, or certain hitters, or at certain places."
In his previous two starts, Sanders didn't get past the fifth inning, allowing seven runs at Texas and then eight runs at Houston. The left-hander said he had been bothered by soreness in his quadriceps against the Astros, but was pain-free against the Orioles as he finished them off in 105 pitches.
"I don't know what's going on," Saunders said. "I pride myself on being a good road pitcher, and haven't done that well this year. In my mind, I need to be a lot more consistent."
The Mariners' offense also made things easy for their starting pitcher, beginning with leadoff hitter Michael Saunders, who hit a home run in his first at-bat since he was activated from the disabled list.
Michael Saunders sprained his right shoulder April 10 when he crashed into the fence while making a catch. He sent Zach Britton's second pitch into the right-center seats for his first career leadoff home run.
Kyle Seager had a two-run triple and Jason Bay added three hits as the Mariners won their third consecutive game for their longest winning streak of the season. Their latest victory came in front of 9,818 fans at the 14-year-old ballpark.
Seattle broke the game open against Britton (0-1), who gave up six runs and 10 hits over six innings in his first start of the season after being called up from Triple-A Norfolk.
"After the home run, I was dog-cussing myself in the dugout because I didn't want to make a mistake," Joe Saunders said. "For the guys to come back like they did, and keep going off a pretty good sinkerball pitcher in Britton, it was impressive to watch and it was fun to watch."
Britton got into trouble after a strange sequence in the sixth. After Justin Smoak singled to start the inning, umpire Alan Porter made a hard throw to give Britton the new ball, hitting the left-hander on his throwing shoulder, and the pitcher was briefly shaken up.
"The umpire smoked me. I had no idea. I was looking down at the ball, and all of a sudden another ball hit me. It didn't feel great," Britton said. "It kind of hit a nerve so it tingled a little bit, but it was fine after that."
When he returned to the mound, it didn't get any better.
Bay followed with his third hit of the game and, after Robert Andino's sacrifice, Brendan Ryan hit an RBI single. It looked as if Britton might get out of the inning when Michael Saunders hit a weak, broken-bat grounder to second base, but the ball was too slow for the Orioles to turn a double play, and Seager followed with his triple.
"We've all got a good momentum," Andino said. "Everybody's pitching in, doing their part, passing the baton and we've got a good flow going on right now."
|The Mariners' Joe Saunders holds the Orioles to two runs to earn the win in his eighth career complete game. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
|Nick Markakis, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.278|
|Manny Machado, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.300|
|Adam Jones, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.339|
|Chris Davis, 1B||2||1||1||0||1||0||0||.352|
|Matt Wieters, C||3||1||1||2||0||0||1||.214|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.192|
|Steve Pearce, DH||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.179|
|Nolan Reimold, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.211|
|Alexi Casilla, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.219|
|HR - Matt Wieters (4, Saunders)|
|RBI - Matt Wieters 2 (13)|
|2-OUT RBI - Matt Wieters 2 (5)|
|Team LOB - 1|
|Zach Britton (L,0-1)||6||10||6||6||2||2||1||9.00|
|WP - Zach Britton (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Zach Britton 101-60, Tommy Hunter 26-18|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Britton 10-6, Tommy Hunter 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Zach Britton 30, Tommy Hunter 7|
|Michael Saunders, CF||4||2||1||2||1||1||0||.281|
|Kyle Seager, 3B||4||0||2||1||0||0||3||.297|
|Kendrys Morales, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.240|
|Michael Morse, RF||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.234|
|Jesus Montero, C||3||1||0||0||1||1||0||.206|
|Justin Smoak, DH||4||1||2||0||0||0||2||.223|
|Jason Bay, LF||4||1||3||1||0||0||1||.269|
|Robert Andino, 2B||3||0||1||1||0||1||1||.200|
|Brendan Ryan, SS||4||0||1||1||0||1||2||.154|
|2B - Justin Smoak (3, Hunter), Jason Bay (2, Britton)|
|3B - Kyle Seager (1, Britton)|
|HR - Michael Saunders (2, Britton)|
|SH - Robert Andino (2)|
|RBI - Michael Saunders 2 (7), Kyle Seager (13), Jason Bay (6), Robert Andino (3), Brendan Ryan (4)|
|2-OUT RBI - Kyle Seager (6)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Andino-Ryan-Morales, Ryan-Andino-Morales|
|Joe Saunders (W,2-3)||9||4||2||2||1||2||1||5.25|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 105-66|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 17-6|
|Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 30|
|Attendance - 9818|
|Game Time - 2:12|
|Temperature - 51|
|Umpires - Home - Al Porter, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Mike Estabrook|