BALTIMORE—As the Orioles prepared to board their plane to Anaheim, Calif. where they begin a nine-game road trip on Friday, they know they’re still in first place.
Their lead is just .15 percentage points over the Boston Red Sox, and with their season nearly a quarter complete, Buck Showalter knows there are many unanswered questions about the American League East.
“We're in the middle of May. Everybody's trying to figure out who they are, whether they're a dancer or someone who spins the records,” Showalter said.
The Orioles lost their first series of the year at home on Thursday. They’d won six of their seven series here and split a four-game set.
The Seattle Mariners ended these three games with a convincing 7-2 win over the Orioles before 35,012 on Thursday.
After their series against the Angels, the Orioles play at Houston and Cleveland before returning here on May 30.
The Orioles (24-15) are 18-7 at home and 7-7 on the road.
“It's two common denominators of teams that play in October - having an advantage at home and being competitive on the road. We know we have to follow that trend. It's long, tried and tested. We're going to some places where people are playing well,” Showalter said.
Aside from Opening Day, this was the only scheduled weekday afternoon game, and the fans here saw Tyler Wilson allow five runs in six innings.
Adam Lind’s three-run homer in the sixth put Seattle (23-17) up by 5-1, and put the Orioles out of it.
Nelson Cruz’s RBI single, a roller up in the middle in the first, scored Norichika Aoki for the first run.
The Orioles temporarily tied it at 1 in the second when Jonathan Schoop singled with two outs and scored on Pedro Alvarez’s double.
Wilson (2-2) allowed two walks, but no hits from the time of Cruz’s single until Seth Smith drove in Ketel Marte in the fifth. Smith was thrown out trying for second by left fielder Joey Rickard, ending the inning.
Robinson Cano doubled to begin the sixth, and with one out, Kyle Seager was walked intentionally. Lind followed with his 15th career home run against the Orioles, and it was 5-1.
Wilson allowed five runs on six hits in six innings.
“I didn’t really have a good feel for my sinker today, which was kind of tough when you’re going against eight lefties in the lineup. I wish I would have found that a little bit earlier or stuck to it. One of the two. And then there in the sixth inning sometimes you end up giving up three trying to stop one and I think that’s what happened. I tried to make too good of pitches or tried to worry about stopping that guy from scoring on third, forcing the double play, and giving up three,” Wilson said.
Nathan Karns (4-1) gave up one run on four hits in five innings. Nick Vincent, Vidal Nuno, Joaquin Benoit and Steve Cishek finished up.
The Orioles had their greatest threat in the eighth against Benoit. Ryan Flaherty walked with one out. Joey Rickard singled and Manny Machado walked to load the bases. Adam Jones grounded to short, scoring Flaherty. Chris Davis flied to center, ending the inning.
Dylan Bundy pitched three innings, the longest of his major league career. It went well until the ninth when Leonys Martin hit a two-run home run to make it 7-2.
“Whatever lies in the future, I was just happy to get three innings under my belt now, especially at this level,” Bundy said.
Showalter has said that it’s possible Bundy could even start later this season.
“You can tell why this is an important year. We're trying to win and Dylan can contribute to that and also set him up to do things he's capable of in the future. So today was a good step for him,” Showalter said.
Mark Trumbo, who had two hits and has a .309 average, is happy with how his new team is playing as the trip begins.
“You have to be. We’ve won a lot more than we’ve lost and mostly everyone is coming around to where you want to see them. You run into a good team like this and it’s going to happen. But who wouldn’t like to be in the position we’re in right now? I think we’re doing really well and we’ve just got to keep going,” Trumbo said.
NOTES: Mike Wright (2-3, 5.20) faces Hector Santiago (3-2, 4.32) at 10:05 p.m. on Friday as the Orioles begin a three-game series at the Los Angeles Angels. Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jimenez pitch on Saturday and Sunday against Matt Shoemaker and Jered Weaver.