SEATTLE - Early in tonight’s game, Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker has been up for the challenge of facing this red-hot Orioles team.
Walker retired the first nine Orioles on just 34 pitches as Seattle led 1-0 after three innings. The 23-year-old needed 12 pitches to get through the first and second frames, and retired the Orioles on 10 pitches in the third.
His defense provided plenty of help. Third baseman Kyle Seager made a diving stop to rob Adam Jones to start the game. Center fielder Leonys Martin made a nice running catch in deep center to rob Mark Trumbo of extra bases in the second inning.
The Orioles have scored 12, 11 and 12 runs in the last three days. They have scored 10 or more four times the last 10 games scoring 82 runs in that span. They are averaging a major league-best 6.74 runs per game in June and have hit 55 homers this month.
But they could not get anything going the first time through the order against Walker, who is 3-6 with a 3.45 ERA and has pitched to an ERA of 1.65 his last three starts.
O’s starter Chris Tillman took the mound tonight with a career mark of 7-0 with an ERA of 2.96 against the Seattle team that drafted him in round two in 2006.
But after getting the first two outs of the last of the first, he walked Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. Seager followed with an RBI single to left that scored Cano and sent Cruz to third. Seager advanced to second on the throw. Tillman got out of second-and-third, two-out jam when he fanned Dae-Ho Lee on his 30th pitch of the inning.
But Tillman settled down after and recorded two straight 1-2-3 innings on 30 more pitches in the second and third.
Tillman exits: The Orioles fell behind 4-0 as Tillman failed to get out of the fifth inning. He gave up four hits, including Seth Smith’s two-run homer to right and an RBI on a 9-5 fielder’s choice off the bat off Dae-Ho Lee who lined a ball to right that Mark Trumbo could not catch, though he did throw out a runner at third on the play.
Tillman allowed six hits and four runs over 4 2/3 innings and was replaced by Dylan Bundy. Over his past three starts, Tillman has allowed 14 runs in 14 2/3 innings as his ERA has jumped from 2.87 to 3.71.
Meanwhile, Walker continues to cruise. He got three popouts in the sixth and has a two-hitter on 73 pitches for Seattle.
Kim hits record-breaker: Hyun Soo Kim led off the top of the seventh with an historic home run. His blast to right field was the Orioles’ 56th of June to set a major league record for homers in the month. The O’s were tied with the 1996 Oakland A’s with 55 homers in June.
Kim’s homer provided the O’s first run and they trail 4-1 in the seventh. Edwin Diaz replaced Walker with one out. Walker went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and one run
The O’s set a record tonight, but if they don’t rally with six outs to go, they won’t have a victory and their winning streak will end.
O’s pull within two: The Orioles thought they had turned an inning-ending double play in the last of the seventh, but after they ran off the field, a replay review overturned the first out of that play at second base on a 5-4-3 double play ball. Instead, one out was recorded on the play at first base and run scored from third as Seattle led 5-1.
In the top of the eighth, the O’s rallied for two runs to trail 5-3. Kim came through again, this time with an RBI single, and Manny Machado added a run-scoring single.
It’s a final: An O’s win streak ends at seven games for the third time this season. They did not score in the ninth and fall 5-3 at Seattle. They are 47-31 on the year and finish June going 19-9.