SEATTLE -- The Mariners are a sterling 57-4 when leading after seven innings, in large part due to the lockdown duo of setup man Alex Colome and closer Edwin Diaz.
But Seattle wasn't able to bridge the gap from starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc to the back of the bullpen on Tuesday night, as the Orioles put up four runs in the seventh to beat the Mariners, 5-3, at Safeco Field.
The Mariners remained 5 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot with 23 games remaining.
"Yeah, it has been a struggle," said manager Scott Servais of getting through the seventh inning. "You're hanging by a thread in a 1-0 game, and hopefully you can get through it, but it wasn't the case. The seventh inning got away from us."
LeBlanc delivered six shutout innings before Adam Warren took the ball with a 1-0 lead to start the seventh.
Warren served up a home run to Renato Nunez and gave up three singles before being replaced by lefty Zach Duke, who couldn't keep either of his two inherited runners from scoring. Nick Vincent closed out the inning, but not before allowing one of his inherited runners to score on a Trey Mancini RBI double.
"Warren was not on, he left a slider up and then struggled after that," Servais said. "Duke came in and got a ground ball, but it's in the six-hole and the run-scoring single there. Frustrating, but it's really hard to go out and win in a 1-0 game every night. You've got to score more runs, you've got to put more pressure on the other team and we haven't done that."
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the first on a Robinson Cano home run, which he smoked at 107.9 mph off the bat with a launch angle of 21 degrees, per Statcast™.
"Alex Cobb is throwing the ball pretty well the last three, four times out," Servais said. "We knew coming into the ballgame that he had figured some stuff out. We didn't get much going. Obviously Robbie hit the home run off him early, we didn't really get much traffic or put much pressure on him after that."
Seattle was gifted two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning when Ryon Healy came up with the bases loaded and smacked a one-hopper to shortstop. Orioles second baseman Breyvic Valera received the ball for a forceout, but couldn't complete the double play as a low throw to first earned him an error and cashed in a pair of Mariners baserunners.
Kyle Seager came to the plate as a pinch-hitter with the tying run on second, but received an intentional walk after working a 2-0 count. Fellow pinch-hitter Chris Herrmann struck out swinging to end the threat.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With the Mariners trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Vincent got a routine fly ball to left field with one out and runners at first and second. Both runners tagged, and Dee Gordon appeared to be in perfect position to nab Jonathan Villar at second base for the third out of the inning.
But Villar turned around and ran back to first. When Gordon ran after him, Valera darted home and Gordon double-clutched, so he wasn't able to get the ball home in time.
Had Gordon gotten at least one additional out on the play, the Mariners could have gone to the dugout down by just one run. Instead, the inning continued and Seattle was down 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh.
Cano's homer against Cobb shouldn't have come as much of a surprise -- it was his fourth long ball against Cobb in his career. After going 2-for-2 with a walk against Cobb on Tuesday, Cano is now hitting .357 (10-for-28) in the all-time matchup.
On the whole, Cano had a 3-for-3 night with a walk and two runs scored. He reached base four times for the third time this season.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Ben Gamel went 0-for-2 at the plate, but had a huge night in the outfield. The right fielder came up with a pair of diving catches, plus an outfield assist on a play at the plate to preserve a 1-0 lead.
"He plays hard every night he's out there," Servais said. "He's trying to do everything he can to get to balls and he has a flair for the dramatic catch."
HE SAID IT
"No, I thought our guys were ready to play. Quite frankly, I thought we would come out and really get after it early. With Robbie hitting the home run early, that might spark us and get it going." -- Servais on whether he thought Tuesday's pregame altercation had an impact on his team's performance
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Gordon nearly ignited some ninth-inning hope with a leadoff infield single. He dove head first into first base, but a replay review confirmed that Orioles reliever Mychal Givens barely beat Gordon to the first-base bag.
Mike Leake (8-9, 4.25 ERA) will get the ball in the final game of the series between the Mariners and Orioles, starting at 7:10 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Leake hasn't earned a victory since beating Boston on June 23. He'll square off against Andrew Cashner (4-13, 4.86 ERA), who has taken losses in each of his last three starts.