Henry Blanco has done it again. Blanco just hit a two-run homer to left field off Wei-Yin Chen to give the Mariners a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning. That’s two homers on this road trip by Blanco, 41, a guy who only plays a handful of times per week if that. It’s his third homer of the season and his first that wasn’t a grand slam.
Chen hurt himself that inning by walking Brendan Ryan with two outs. It was his second walk of the inning — Michael Saunders was picked off first earlier — and third of the game. I have not been impressed by the number of walks given up by Orioles starters this series. This is a team with playoff aspirations, but it will need better pitching than it’s gotten from starters and the bullpen this series if it hopes to get there.
Joe Saunders is now positioned to win the game. He’s done after six innings and Yoervis Medina is now on to pitch.
12:28 p.m.: Joe Saunders had run a Houdini act the first five innings, stranding eight runners. But his luck ran out in the sixth after he put the leadoff batter on for the fifth time in six frames by walking Steve Pearce. Danny Valencia came up next and drove a ball over the center field fence for a two-run homer that now has Baltimore ahead 2-1.
10:55 a.m.: Michael Morse blooped a double down the right field line to start the second inning and Raul Ibanez followed with a double to the gap in right center to give Seattle a 1-0 lead. The Mariners caught a break in the first inning when Adam Jones scorched a ball off the top of the left field wall with two outs. Just missed being a home run, but stayed in the park and Joe Saunders got out of it.
10:35 a.m.: Joe Saunders is making his ninth career start against the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon, having gone 6-0 with a 4.22 ERA against them. He is 3-0 with a 4.58 ERA when facing them here at Camden Yards. One thing to note is that he’s received 8.63 runs per game of support in those contests.
Then again, the way the Mariners have swung the bat lately, getting another eight runs today might be doable.
Saunders pitched here for the Orioles in the second half of last season. He’ll tell anyone who’ll listen that the key to survival at this ballpark is to not walk guys. With so many home runs flying out of here, you have to limit the scoring damage by keeping other runners off base ahead of the long balls being hit.