SEATTLE -- Leonys Martin provided a game-saving catch in the bottom of the ninth to preserve a 7-6 win over the Orioles on Wednesday at Safeco Field as the Mariners finished off a tough homestand with their second straight win before heading out on a rugged 12-game East Coast road
SEATTLE -- Leonys Martin provided a game-saving catch in the bottom of the ninth to preserve a 7-6 win over the Orioles on Wednesday at Safeco Field as the Mariners finished off a tough homestand with their second straight win before heading out on a rugged 12-game East Coast road trip.
After closer Edwin Diaz walked the bases loaded to start the bottom of the ninth with a 7-4 lead, Martin hauled in a drive into the right-center gap by Manny Machado, turning a potential tying blow into a sacrifice fly.
"That defensive play was really the story of the game," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "If that ball falls in, we're in all kinds of trouble."
• Martin delivers at plate, in outfield to lift Mariners
Diaz then hit two batters in a row -- Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo -- which forced in another run and led to the ejection of Servais before veteran lefty Marc Rzepczynski came on to strike out Chris Davis for the final out for his first save of the season and just the second of his nine-year career.
"I've come in with the bases loaded and two outs plenty of times, but never in the ninth with the game on the line," said Rzepczynski. "I have one other career save and it was a four-out save, so it's a little different. But I've come in plenty of times with the bases loaded in the seventh or eighth, so I just treated it like that and went right after him."
After losing the first five games of their only Safeco Field stand in August, Seattle pulled back to .500 at 61-61 by winning the series vs. the Orioles and staying 1 1/2 games back of the Angels in the chase for the American League's second Wild Card spot.
Yonder Alonso went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs, Jean Segura had three hits and a run and and Martin added a solo homer as Seattle racked up 15 hits in the afternoon getaway game.
Timothy Beckham continued his red-hot month for the Orioles with a 2-for-4 day that included his second leadoff homer of the series. Beckham had two RBIs, and he is now batting .485 (32-for-66) with five home runs and 18 RBIs in 16 games since being acquired from the Rays.
Ubaldo Jimenez lasted just 4 1/3 innings for the O's, allowing eight hits and six runs as the veteran right-hander fell to 5-8 with a 6.47 ERA on the year. The loss dropped Baltimore to 59-62, three games back of the Angels in the Wild Card hunt, as they finished 4-6 on their West Coast trek.
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"Ubaldo's been pitching so well for us, but today was a little bit of a struggle," Showalter said. "He was close to having a much better outing. You take those two hit-by-pitches away and it's a much different look."
Mariners rookie Marco Gonzales gave up nine hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings in his third start since replacing the injured Felix Hernandez in the Mariners' rotation, and he wound up with a no-decision.
• Heredia exits after HBP on right forearm
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Go Yonder: Alonso came through with his best game for Seattle since being acquired from the A's on Aug. 6 as he ripped his first homer for the Mariners -- and career-best 23rd for the season with a two-run shot in the fourth. The 411-foot blast into the right-field seats came on a full-count 92-mph fastball from Jimenez, who broke his own career mark by allowing his 26th homer of the season.
"It's definitely nice," Alonso said. "I'm enjoying my time here and enjoying the opportunity for this whole team and what's at stake. We're excited and it was a good team win, especially winning the series. Now we can enjoy our off-day and get ready for a long road trip."
Correct answer: The Orioles took the lead with three runs in the top of the fifth on five straight hits off Gonzales, including an RBI triple by Craig Gentry. But the Mariners responded immediately with a three-spot of their own in the bottom of that inning off Jimenez on RBI singles by Robinson Cano, Alonso and Danny Valencia. Things could have been worse for the Orioles, but reliever Richard Bleier got Mike Zunino to ground into a double play to keep the score at 6-4.
"It was nice to get the series win," said Servais. "That's the goal after a rough weekend against the Angels. We did get it turned around. This was a really good offensive day. The guys really swung the bats well, up and down the lineup."
"[Martin] made a great defensive play or we got an even better situation then what we had. They helped us out, but we were also very selective there to that point." -- Showalter, on the Orioles' ninth inning
"He's a young pitcher. I still really like his stuff. He's going to have to do a little better job navigating to get deep in games. Going out for the fifth, you think he's in great shape and then it happens rather quickly for him. But he's going to be in our rotation, we'll go forward with him and he'll continue to learn and get better." -- Servais, on Gonzales
HITTING THE EJECT BUTTON
Servais was ejected by home-plate umpire Adrian Johnson in the top of the ninth as soon as he left the dugout to protest a checked-swing call on Mancini, which was instead ruled a hit-by-pitch for Diaz in the Orioles' final rally. It was Servais' third ejection of the season.
"He swung," Servais said. "If he swings, whether it hits him or not, it's strike three and the game is over. So that was my beef with it. It was pretty clear if you watch it on replay. It's a judgment call by the umpire. I'm not quite sure what he's looking at, but we got out of there with a 'W.'"
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Mariners challenged a safe call at first in the fifth when Jonathan Schoop just beat the relay throw on a fielder's choice groundout as Seattle attempted to turn an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play after the Orioles had already scored three runs to take the lead. But after a two-minute, 49-second review, the call stood. Reliever Tony Zych got the next batter, Mancini, to ground out to third to leave runners stranded at the corners.
The Orioles also challenged a play at first base, arguing Davis was safe before Segura's throw from the right side of the infield made it into Alonso's glove in the sixth. The call was eventually overturned, and a double play on Davis' slow grounder was scored as a fielder's choice -- Segura tagged out Trumbo running from first to second before firing to first.
HE CAN FIELD, TOO
Mancini has made more of an impact with his bat this season, but on Wednesday, he showed he could field a little, too, with three sterling defensive plays. The most impressive was a diving catch on a liner off the bat of Ben Gamel in the seventh, which Statcast™ rated as a four-star snag with a 46 percent catch probability, made possible by Mancini covering 41 feet in 3.2 seconds. Mancini was 0-for-13 on four-star catches before that.
The converted left fielder also made a sliding catch on Alonso's looper heading for the left-field corner in the second. In the sixth, Mancini doubled up Segura at first after he was running on Jarrod Dyson's shallow fly ball.
"He's been solid," Showalter said. "The work that he and [first-base coach Wayne] Kirby and Brady [Anderson] in Spring Training have done is just a lot of fun to watch. I watch him every day in batting practice, and he's taking balls off the bat like the World Series. And that's how you get better. It's been fun to watch. Very quietly this whole trip, he's played as good of outfield you'll see played for a big guy."
Orioles: The Orioles receive a well-deserved off-day on Thursday after 10 consecutive road games. Baltimore returns home to take on the Angels for a three-game series starting Friday. Jeremy Hellickson, who is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts since Baltimore acquired him at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline from Philadelphia, gets the call for the 7:05 p.m. ET start.
Mariners:Erasmo Ramirez (4-4, 4.73 ERA) gets the start against his former Rays club as Seattle opens a 12-game road trip on Friday at 4:10 p.m. PT at Tropicana Field. The 27-year-old right-hander was acquired for Steve Cishek on July 28 and is coming off his best start with the Mariners, six innings of one-run ball vs. the Angels.
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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the Orioles on Wednesday.