MARINERS SIXTH: M’s score 3 to give Saunders a cushion. Struggling Brendan Ryan drove in the first one with a solid single to right, scoring Justin Smoak, who had singled. Michael Saunders’ fielders’ choice brought in another run, and Kyle Seager tripled in Saunders. Weird play in the inning as home-plate umpire Alan Porter threw a baseball to Britton when he wasn’t looking, and nailed him in the shoulder. He took a few practice throws and stayed in the game. 6-2 Mariners
MARINERS FOURTH: They’ve shown a nice ability to battle from behind the last two games, and they score two here to take the lead. Jason Bay drove in the first with a double down the 3B line, and Robert Andino singled in the go-ahead run. That left second and third, one out, but they couldn’t score as Brendan Ryan struck out (after fouling off a squeeze bunt) and, after a Michael Saunders’ bunt loaded them, Seager flied out. 3-2 Mariners.
ORIOLES FOURTH: So much for Saunders’ scoreless streak at Safeco. It ends on one Matt Wieters’ swing — a 2-2 pitch with two outs that he rockets over the left-field wall for a two-run homer. 2-1 Orioles.
MARINERS THIRD: Kyle Seager, who had his 16-game hitting streak snapped Sunday, started a new one with a two-out single. But Morales flied out to end the inning. M’s have three hits off Britton, lead 1-0.
ORIOLES THIRD: The other Saunders — Joe — is rolling, as usual, at Safeco. He’s through three scoreless innings, giving up just one hit, and now is unscored upon in 16.1 innings here this season. 1-0 Mariners.
MARINERS FIRST: Welcome back, Michael Saunders. On his first swing off the DL, Saunders launched a homer to right center, the first leadoff homer of his career. 1-0 Mariners.
Joe Saunders, who ended last season with the Orioles, now takes on their tough lineup, which features one of the top sluggers in the league this season, first baseman Chris Davis. He leads the American League in both homers (9) and RBIs (28). Ex-Mariner Adam Jones is also off to a strong start, hitting .352 with four homers and 20 RBIs. The Orioles have scored more runs (129) than any team in the AL except Oakland (138), which has played one more game.
Saunders has a 6.33 ERA in five starts, but he is back in his comfort zone, which is Safeco Field. He is 7-0, 1.71 ERA in 11 career starts at the ballpark, including a 6-0, 0.74 mark in his last nine starts, dating back to June 3,2008. This season, he has worked 13.1 scoreless innings at home.
Orioles starter Zach Britton is making his first start of the season after starting the year in the minors. He won 11 games in 2011 to lead the Orioles.