Batting ninth, Blanco delivers key two-run shot as Mariners beats O’s

Sometimes one pitch is the difference.

It was today for the Mariners, as No. 9 hitter Henry Blanco hit a two-run homer in the seventh on an 0-2 pitch to give Seattle a 3-2 win over the Orioles in front of 30,759 sun-splashed fans at Camden Yards.

After getting swept in a three-game series in Boston, the Mariners took the last two of this series in Baltimore. Seattle is 4-2 against the O’s on the year.

Danny Valencia’s two-run homer in the last of the sixth had ended several innings of frustration for the Orioles and put them ahead 2-1. But the lead didn’t last long.

Chen walked No. 8 hitter Brendan Ryan with two outs before Blanco, hitting just .170 at game time, homered to left to put the Mariners ahead. It was his third homer of the season.

Chen pitched seven innings, allowing five hits and three runs with three walks and five strikeouts. He falls to 6-4 with an ERA of 2.95. Chen pitched seven innings or more for the fourth time in his last five outings.

Blanco’s homer made Joe Saunders the winning pitcher. The former Oriole now has two starts and two wins versus the Orioles in 2013. He went six innings, allowing eight hits and two runs and throwing 115 pitches.

The Orioles got the first two runners on base twice against Saunders and had several chances. However, they went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position over the first six innings.

The frustrating loss ends a 4-5 homestand for the Orioles, who are now 61-51.

The O’s begin a three-city, West Coast trip Tuesday night at San Diego.

Minor league note: Aberdeen outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, the club’s 14th round draft pick out of Vanderbilt, has been named the Orioles’ minor league Player of the Month for July.

In 26 games, Yastrzemski batted .344 with 31 hits, two homers and 12 RBIs. He helped the IronBirds go 15-13 in the month, putting the IronBirds in position to make a run at their first playoff berth in franchise history.

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