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Davis' homer a bright spot in O's extras loss

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

BALTIMORE -- On Wednesday night, closer Zach Britton's ninth-inning issues took the rightful spotlight away from Chris Davis. On Thursday, it was the Orioles' defense.

A pair of key 10th-inning errors gave way to the O's 4-2 series-sweeping loss to Seattle, another defeat salvaged only by the continued optimism surrounding Davis. Errors -- first by center fielder Colby Rasmus and then by third baseman Steve Wilkerson -- along with a three-hit, three-RBI day from former Oriole Nelson Cruz, saw Seattle record its third four-game sweep over Baltimore.

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BALTIMORE -- On Wednesday night, closer Zach Britton's ninth-inning issues took the rightful spotlight away from Chris Davis. On Thursday, it was the Orioles' defense.

A pair of key 10th-inning errors gave way to the O's 4-2 series-sweeping loss to Seattle, another defeat salvaged only by the continued optimism surrounding Davis. Errors -- first by center fielder Colby Rasmus and then by third baseman Steve Wilkerson -- along with a three-hit, three-RBI day from former Oriole Nelson Cruz, saw Seattle record its third four-game sweep over Baltimore.

View Full Game Coverage

The Orioles have lost five in a row and are 23-57 on the year. But, with one eye already on the future, Davis -- who is signed for three more years beyond this season -- looks on his way to regaining his old form.

Video: SEA@BAL: Davis races out for over-the-shoulder catch

"I feel like a completely different person," Davis said of his revival since returning to the lineup over the weekend in Atlanta. "I feel a lot more comfortable. I feel like I'm back to being myself, and that's kind of the benefit of having some time off and being able to make adjustments -- getting back in there and actually being able to apply some of those adjustments."

A day after going deep to Eutaw Street, Davis went deep again, homering in back-to-back games for just the second time this season with his fourth-inning blast. Since a prolonged benching, a last-ditch effort to get the first baseman back on track, Davis has hit three of his seven homers this season.

"I don't want to put that [pressure on him], you know?" manager Buck Showalter said, when asked if he felt Davis was on the verge of a hot streak. "Yeah, sure. We know that Chris is capable of that, but since he's come back, he's been producing runs, and that's what he's capable of doing. So, I hope so. I thought he's had some good at-bats all the way through it since he's been back."

Video: SEA@BAL: Machado crushes his 20th homer of the season

His latest followed Manny Machado, who connected for his 20th homer off Mariners starter Mike Leake two batters before Davis. The pair of solo homers -- which tied the game at 2 -- were all the O's could muster in Leake's seven innings.

Orioles righty Jimmy Yacabonis, filling in for the injured Dylan Bundy, held his own in his first career Major League start. Yacabonis, who has pitched in relief for the O's before, went four-plus innings and held Seattle to two runs -- both of which came on Cruz's homer -- on six hits.

Converted to a starter after Spring Training, Yacabonis credited his previous Major League relief outings with helping to keep his nerves in check. As for what has been the key to him having success as a starter, Yacabonis said it comes down to attacking hitters.

"Just getting ahead of guys," said Yacabonis, who struck out five and walked just one in the 67-pitch no-decision. "Doing that has made my offspeed better, too. Just working on a kind of 'calm-down' motion and not putting too much on each pitch. Just try and execute the right pitch."

Video: SEA@BAL: Yacabonis freezes Segura in the 1st inning

But Seattle took the lead for good in the 10th.

Miguel Castro allowed an infield single to start the 10th, and Rasmus bobbled Jean Segura's single to allow Dee Gordon to come around. Cruz drove Segura in after Wilkerson's error.

"When you get a guy on first base like Dee Gordon [who had an infield single] that can run that well, it puts a lot of pressure on our defense," Davis said. "To be honest with you, I even told Buck right there when he came to the mound I thought they were sending him, even if [Rasmus] fields the ball cleanly. It's a long throw from right-center, and he's got that much speed. We got to do a little bit better job cleaning those things up and giving ourselves a chance to win."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Wilkerson gave the Orioles a leadoff single off reliever Nick Vincent in the eighth inning and, one out later, notched his first career stolen base to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. But Trey Mancini struck out, and Vincent retired Rasmus and -- after intentionally walking Machado -- Mark Trumbo to end the inning.

"We're not scoring enough runs to think how much is enough," Showalter said. "Every defensive lapse multiplies when you're going through that stage."

RAMIREZ SHINES
Yefry Ramirez, who was recalled to add depth to the bullpen prior to the game, tossed five innings of scoreless baseball. The righty -- who came in with two of Yacabonis' runners on -- held the Mariners to just three hits to keep the game tied.

"I think [the key is] concentration," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "Being focused on the pitches that I wanted to throw and executing them."

Video: SEA@BAL: Ramirez fans Cruz, strands a pair in 5th

HE SAID IT
"No, it's about winning the game -- after nine innings, having more runs than them. I will never stop looking at that, but within that realm, you should always be looking at [player performance], too. I don't like losing any games. It eats at you. But you should be doing those things all the time because things are always evolving, especially in our situation." -- Showalter, on if evaluating players is more important than winning at this point in the season

UP NEXT
Rookie righty David Hess will take the mound on Friday opposite Angels righty Felix Pena. Hess has had his bumps recently, unable to complete five innings in each of his last three outings. Still, he's been a bright spot in a lackluster season for the O's, and he will try to get back on track in the 7:05 p.m. ET series opener at Oriole Park.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis