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Orioles go deep four times for seventh consecutive win

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Orioles go deep four times for seventh consecutive win

BALTIMORE — Welington Castillo went 4 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs, Jonathan Schoop singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Seattle Mariners 8-7 on Wednesday for their season-high seventh straight victory.

Schoop, Mancini and Craig Gentry also homered for the Orioles, who completed their first three-game sweep of Seattle since 2012. In this one, Baltimore fell behind 6-2 in the third inning before coming back.

Mitch Haniger homered and hit two doubles for Seattle, which completed an arduous 12-game East Coast trip with five straight defeats. After winning two of three in Tampa Bay and Atlanta, the Mariners went 1-2 at Yankee Stadium and came up empty against the sizzling Orioles.

After Baltimore went up 7-6 in the sixth on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Manny Machado, Seattle pulled even in the eighth when Haniger connected off Brad Brach (4-4).

In the bottom half, Castillo singled off Christian Bergman (4-5) and went to second base on a sacrifice bunt before being replaced by pinch-runner Caleb Joseph. Tim Beckham then hit a liner to short, and Joseph was called out on a relay to second. But a replay overturned the call, and Schoop followed an intentional walk to Machado with a single to center off Marc Rzepczynski.

Zach Britton pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

Mancini hit his 23rd home run and Castillo added an RBI double in the second for a 2-0 lead, but Seattle answered with a six-run third that included a two-run double by Haniger and two-run singles by Mike Zunino and Nelson Cruz, the latter of which ricocheted off second base.

Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez was charged with all six runs, but Baltimore's robust offense eventually took him off the hook.

Castillo homered with a man on in the fourth and Gentry followed with a drive to right. Schoop tied it in the fifth with his 30th home run, and Seattle starter Ariel Miranda faced one more batter before being pulled.

It was the fifth time this season that Miranda allowed at least six runs.

TRADE WINDS:

In an effort to enhance their injury-riddled starting rotation, the Mariners acquired RHP Mike Leake (7-12, 4.21 ERA) from the St. Louis Cardinals for minor league INF Rayder Ascanio.

TRAINER'S ROOM:

Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez (shoulder) and LHP James Paxton (pectoral) are expected to throw bullpen sessions this weekend in Seattle. . SS Jean Segura was given a planned day out of the starting lineup but was available to pinch hit, manager Scott Servais said.

Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (wrist) will likely come off the DL "sometime between Sept. 1 and 4," manager Buck Showalter said, adding that Hardy's recovery has been hampered by "spring training shoulder."

UP NEXT:

Mariners: After a day off Thursday, Seattle opens a nine-game homestand with a series against Oakland. RHP Yovani Gallardo (4-10, 6.29 ERA) looks to turn the calendar with his first start of September after going 0-3 in August.

Orioles: Toronto comes to town Thursday to open a four-game series.

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Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

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USA Today Sports

Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

BALTIMORE  -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman will wear No. 34 next season as a tribute to Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash last month.

Gausman announced the switch Thursday on his Twitter account. The right-hander wore No. 39 last year.

Gausman and Halladay are both from Colorado, and the Orioles pitcher said he followed Halladay's career closely and idolized him.

In a post next a photo of his new jersey, Gausman wrote: "Roy gave me the inspiration that I could fulfill even my biggest of dreams -- being a pitcher just like him."

Gausman concluded: "The loss of Roy is tragic and saddening, but I feel honored to have watched everything he achieved."

Halladay died on Nov. 7 when his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He played 16 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in each league and being named an All-Star eight times.

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Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

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USA TODAY Sports

Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

HOUSTON (AP) -- Home runs kept flying over the wall at Minute Maid Park, on line drives up toward the train tracks, on fly balls that just dropped over the fence.

Seven more were hit in Game 5, raising the total to a World Series record 22 -- with two possible more games to play. Twenty-five runs were scored in a game started by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Astros' Dallas Keuchel, Cy Young Award winners regarded as among baseball's best.

After a season when sluggers outpaced even their steroid-era predecessors for home runs, some are convinced that something is amiss with the baseballs.

"The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls," Justin Verlander said Sunday, two days before he takes the mound in Game 6 and tries to pitch the Astros to their first title. "They're a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don't think it's the case of one pitcher saying, `Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole, everybody is saying, `Whoa, something is a little off here.'"

A record eight home runs were hit in Game 2, including five in extra innings, and Game 5's seven long balls would have tied the old mark. The 13-12, 10-inning Astros' win Sunday night was the second-highest scoring game in Series history.

Keuchel was quoted as saying after Game 2: "Obviously, the balls are juiced."

Not so obvious to everyone, even amid the power surge.

"I haven't personally noticed anything. I haven't tried to think about it either," Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow said after giving up two homers in Game 5. "It's not something you want to put in your own head."

Same for Kershaw, even after giving up his record eighth homer of the postseason Sunday.

"I don't really pay attention to it," Kershaw said. "I just assume that both sides are dealing with it, so I'm not going to worry about it."

This year's long ball assault topped the 21 of the 2002 Series. Anaheim hit seven and Barry Bonds and his San Francisco Giants slugged 14 over seven games. That was the year before survey drug testing.

Speculation that something has changed includes a study claiming to have found differences in the size and seam height of balls since the 2015 All-Star break.

"I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent," said Rich Hill, who will start Game 6 for the Dodgers. "I think that just has to do with conditions -- if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs."

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.

"I'm absolutely confident that the balls that we're using are within our established specifications," he said Friday.

Verlander rejected that assertion.

"I know Mr. Manfred said the balls haven't changed, but I think there's enough information out there to say that's not true," he said.

Verlander also does not think it's an issue of how balls are rubbed up before games.

"I know baseball uses the same mud for every single ball for every single game that's played," he said. "I think there's a broader issue that we're all missing."

On the day he become commissioner in January 2015, Manfred said, "I'm cognizant in the drop in offense over the last five years, and it's become a topic of conversation in the game, and it's something that we're going to have to continue to monitor and study."

Offense started rebounding during the second half of the season, and a record 6,105 home runs were hit this year, 2.4 percent more than the previous mark of 5,963 set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.

"I think it's pretty clear," Verlander said. "I think our commissioner has said publicly that they wanted more offense in the game. I'm pretty sure I'm not fabricating a quote here when I say that. I think it was already All-Star break of `15, or right before, when he said that."

San Francisco's Johnny Cueto and Toronto's Marcus Stroman also think the balls have changed, with Stroman blaming slick balls for a rise in pitcher blisters -- an affliction which has struck Hill a few times in the past couple seasons, too.

Houston's Brent Strom and the Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt, the World Series pitching coaches, both were quoted by Sports Illustrated on Sunday as saying the slickness of the ball made throwing sliders difficult.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't see a ton difference, but I'm not going to get in a verbal war with coaches and players who think otherwise."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a similar view but acknowledged the power records got his attention.

"The pitchers talk about it feels different in their hand. The one component is the slickness and guys at different ballparks rub it up differently," he said. "Sort of feels the same to me. But it's hard to argue the numbers. You know there's more velocity. Guys are swinging harder. I know in Los Angeles the air was light. It was hot. The ball was flying, carrying more than typically. But I hesitate to try to give you any insight because I really don't know."

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