Nunez's homer sparks decisive 7th-inning rally

September 5th, 2018

SEATTLE -- Right-hander Alex Cobb admitted later that his stuff came and went. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter saw it, too.

But it was enough to keep the Orioles in the game until their bats awoke for a decisive four-run rally in a 5-3 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field on Tuesday night.

sparked the outburst in the seventh inning with a leadoff homer to tie, and and added RBIs as the Orioles (41-98) snapped a four-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, Seattle (77-62) saw its playoff hopes take a hit, missing a chance to gain ground on Oakland in the American League Wild Card chase. It also spoiled a big night from , who went 3-for-3 and homered for the Mariners.

"It started with ... another good outing by Alex Cobb," Showalter said. "We know what's on the line for Seattle -- they're trying to operate on all cylinders."

Cobb (5-15) pitched six innings and allowed one run, but after surrendering an early homer, he resumed the sparkling form he has shown since the All-Star break with his seventh quality start in his last eight outings. He gave up four hits, walked three and struck out two.

The right-hander said his offspeed stuff wasn't his best, but managed to work around it.

"They were some of the best ones I've thrown all year and also some of the worst ones," Cobb said. "It's pitching. There are days where you don't have your best stuff and you find a way to compete."

"Cobb was using both sides of the plate really well," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Tied up some right-handed hitters when you start looking out over the plate and he threw the ball really well."

Baltimore closer came on to earn his sixth save, striking out Chris Herrmann in the eighth with the tying run on second and pitching a scoreless ninth. Reliever (2-2) took the loss for Seattle.


Cano put the Orioles in a hole early with a solo shot to right, a no-doubter that barely turned around to watch sail into the stands. But after that early blip, Cobb quickly settled down.

That paid off in the seventh with Nunez's homer to left, evening the score at 1. Nunez had a big game, going 3-for-4 after having previously going hitless in September (0-for-7 entering Tuesday).

Villar and Mancini added an RBI single and RBI double, respectively, in the seventh as Baltimore pounded 15 hits.

"With this offense, you know that can happen at any point," said Mancini, who finished 3-for-5. "Unfortunately, it hasn't really happened on this road trip until tonight."

The highlight of the inning came with runners on first and second. Joey Rickard hit a fly to deep left field that had both runners tagging -- took third, while Villar broke for second.

's throw to second was in time to get Villar, but he slid short and retreated to first. Valera kept going around third and broke for home, beating Dee Gordon's throw for the third run.

"Some people call it aggressive, some people call it reckless," Showalter said of the play. "We need a little more of that, quite frankly."


After falling behind early, 1-0, Baltimore nearly evened the score in the top of the second in a rally started by back-to-back singles by Chris Davis and Nunez. Valera followed with a two-out single to right, but Davis was cut down at the plate with a strong throw by Ben Gamel. Gamel struck again, later robbing Baltimore's in the fifth with a diving catch near the right-field foul line.


Cobb continued his trend of solid pitching since the All-Star break, but he benefited as another trend was broken. Cobb entered the contest with a run-support average of 3.37 runs per game, the fourth-lowest in the Majors. Going into Tuesday, he had only received four or more runs of support in six of 25 starts this season.


"We've been working on that [since] Spring Training. It's the kind of a mistake that gets rewarded, quite frankly. You shouldn't go on that ball. A lot of people just give up, but he stopped and got the rundown going and that's baseball moxie." -- Showalter, on the rundown that ended with a Baltimore run in the seventh inning


The Orioles took away a hit from Gordon to open the ninth, as Mancini gloved a chopped right of first and flipped to Givens, just ahead of the sliding Gordon. A replay review confirmed that Given just beat Gordon to the bag.


Right-hander (4-13, 4.86 ERA) looks to turn around a personal losing streak in the Orioles' finale in Seattle on Wednesday at 10:10 p.m. ET. Cashner, who has lost his last three starts, took a no-decision in his only start against the Mariners this season on June 25, pitching six innings and allowing three earned runs. Seattle will start right-hander Mike Leake.