BALTIMORE --- The Orioles keep saying it’s early, and while there’s plenty of time for the offense to consistently hit, they’re not doing it now.
For the ninth time in their last 14 games, the Orioles were held to three runs or less on Wednesday night, and despite some late offense, lost 4-2 to the Seattle Mariners before 21,710 at Oriole Park.
The Orioles (17-20) have lost eight of those nine games, and if they had scored five runs, would have won four of those games—enough to turn their season around.
“We haven’t played consistent baseball all year. It’s still early. We’re only [three] games out of it. We haven’t been playing good baseball all year and we’re still right here,” Steve Pearce said.
Fortunately for the Orioles, no one in the American League East is running away with the division. They’re in fourth place, three games behind the Yankees and Rays. All five AL East teams lost on Wednesday night.
“We have a chance to turn this thing around. We’re not pressing yet. We’re only a quarter of the way through the season,” Pearce said.
The Orioles continue to pitch creditably. Wei-Yin Chen wasn’t as sharp as he had been recently, allowing four runs in seven innings, but while he was in the game, the Orioles had just four hits, two in the first six.
“I think tonight I made too many mistakes on my control, so being able to get through seven innings [is] the only thing I can say is good,” Chen said through his translator.
The Orioles couldn’t handle Roenis Elias (1-1), who gave up two-out singles to Adam Jones in the first and Manny Machado in the third.
Elias retired 10 straight before he allowed a leadoff single to Jones in the seventh. Delmon Young hit into a double play. Chris Davis, who was hitless in 15 at-bats, doubled, but Steve Pearce fouled out.
After getting two outs in the eight, Rey Navarro and Machado singled, and Carson Smith allowed a single to right by Jimmy Paredes, but he made a foolish choice. Navarro scored and Paredes tried to run to second while Nelson Cruz threw the ball to second.
Paredes was out on a close play, and though manager Buck Showalter challenged the call, it stood.
“Jimmy lets it rip. There's a question whether he's out or safe. It's one of those... We looked at three of them he was safe and one of them he was out, and that's enough for them I'm sure to not overturn what was called on the field. If they had called him safe they probably wouldn't have overturned that, either,” Showalter said.
“I know what the end game is. I get it. But Jimmy thought he could make it and it's still questionable whether he did or didn't. But I know what went up on the scoreboard. It's kind of who he is. He saw something and went for it and it didn't work out."
Fernando Rodney allowed singles to Jones and Young to start the ninth, but Davis and Pearce were called out looking.
“I know it's close. It's one of those 50-50 calls. That one went against Chris and it went against us at second base. If you knew they were going to call that pitch a strike you'd have swung at it,” Showalter said.
Pearce was 0-for-4 and got the ball in play just once. The strikeout by Rodney hurt.
“He threw some really good changeups and he’s a tough guy to hit. He fooled me a little bit but we still had a chance to win it. I didn’t get the job done, but it was only the second out of the inning. We had one more chance to get it done,” Pearce said.
J.J. Hardy dropped a single to center scoring Jones, and Travis Snider, pinch hitting grounded to second, and Rodney had his 10th save for Seattle (18-21).
Justin Ruggiano doubled with one out in the second and scored on Mike Zunino’s double for Seattle’s first run.
In the fourth, Cruz led off with a double, and with two outs, Ruggiano hit a long home run to left-center, his second of the season.
Logan Morrison singled to lead off the seventh. He scored on Chris Taylor’s one-out triple to right.
Elias allowed one run on six hits and didn’t walk any.
“He was working quick, throwing strikes getting ahead early. He kept us all off balance tonight,” Pearce said. “Certainly we have to do a better job tomorrow we still have a chance to win this series.”
NOTES: Tyler Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth in his major league debut. … J.A. Happ (3-1, 2.98) faces Chris Tillman (2-5, 6.34) on Thursday at 12:35 p.m.