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O's defeat Seattle to snap 10-game losing streak

@JoeTrezz
June 22, 2019

SEATTLE -- Catharsis came for the Orioles late Saturday afternoon, in a celebratory postgame clubhouse nearly a fortnight in the making. In one corner, Keon Broxton danced, a 10-game burden lifted off his and the rest of the Orioles’ backs. “Break the ice, get the juices flowing again, get back

SEATTLE -- Catharsis came for the Orioles late Saturday afternoon, in a celebratory postgame clubhouse nearly a fortnight in the making. In one corner, Keon Broxton danced, a 10-game burden lifted off his and the rest of the Orioles’ backs.

“Break the ice, get the juices flowing again, get back on track,” Broxton said after the club’s 8-4 win over the Mariners, which snapped their longest losing streak in nearly a decade. “It was huge to knock this out of the way.”

Box score

A few doors over in the visiting manager’s office, Brandon Hyde laughed in relief. So similar to their regular road grays were the 1969 throwback uniforms the Orioles wore Saturday, Hyde fell victim to a pregame snafu. It turned out to be an omen, and for the first time in a while, one to chuckle at.

“Maybe we’ll wear them again,” Hyde quipped. “I had the wrong pants on and the wrong hat on five minutes before the game … Whatever uniform allows us to win, I’ll put it on.”

That was the sentiment after the Orioles came together to halt their 10-game slide, tied for the longest in the Majors this season. More than any wardrobe, the final came largely courtesy of Andrew Cashner, who, backed by a preponderance of defensive prowess, delivered six innings of two-run ball.

After allowing a run in the first, Cashner held Seattle scoreless until Omar Narvaez’s infield grounder drove in Domingo Santana in the sixth. By then, the Orioles were fine with conceding the run, having jumped out ahead on homers from Jonathan Villar and Anthony Santander.

“It’s been a tough skid. It’s worn on all of us, the coaches and players,” Cashner said. “The home runs today were huge for us.”

Baltimore tacked on insurance runs in the seventh (Pedro Severino sac fly) and eighth (Hanser Alberto two-run single) and aided Cashner with a quartet of stellar defensive plays spread across the afternoon. That all made the lead he left holdable, even for the Orioles’ combustible relief corps. Jimmy Yacabonis struck out the side in the seventh, Josh Rogers survived another Santana homer in the eighth and Mychal Givens secured the ninth.

For a team that’s seen its roster reshook daily, Friday’s comeback fall just short, their offense go aslumber lately and pitching depth shredded, it was a complete victory. It was also one they sorely needed.

“A lot of different guys did some good things,” Hyde said. “It’s about a lot of things: Our starter giving us innings, our bullpen being able to bridge and not make it so tough on ourselves. Another thing we did today that we have not done is tack on runs. Got a lead, continue to score and put pressure on them. That was nice to see.”

Here are a few snapshots of how the Orioles made it happen:

Flashing the leather

They came nearly in succession, four of the Orioles better defensive plays this season coming in a five-batter stretch over the fourth and fifth. Broxton made one to either side of him, ranging to the right-center field wall to reel in Santana’s long fly and tumbling in the left-center to rob Daniel Vogelbach a batter later.

To a man, the Orioles and Mariners both lauded Broxton for the Vogelbach play, his speed and athleticism plain to see. But it was the one before that Statcast actually deemed more difficult, crediting Broxton with a five-star catch after he traveled 101 feet in 5.5 seconds.

“I thought the biggest thing today was our defense,” Cashner said. “Keon definitely changed the game with those two plays.”

A batter later, Alberto slid into foul ground to snatch a pop up off Navaez’s bat. And to begin the next frame, Richie Martin dove full-extension and threw across the diamond to rob Tim Beckham of a surefire single. All came with Baltimore cradling a two-run lead.

“That one inning, all three outs were made by diving plays and they started out the sixth with another diving play by the shortstop,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “You have to give them credit.”

Redemption for Villar

Villar accounted for the Orioles’ only homer over the first five-plus games of this roadtrip before he connected again Saturday, his three-run shot off losing pitcher Tommy Milone changing the complexion of the game. On the MASN broadcast, team play-by-play man Gary Thorne exclaimed “Redemption is yours!” And it was.

It was just two innings prior when Villar, having walked and advanced to second, fell asleep and was picked off badly by Milone. Given the context and Hyde’s public scorn for mental lapses and fundamental mistakes, the timing of the gaff was particularly striking.

Villar then made it a distant memory with one swing, unloading on a 87 mph cookie up in the zone from Milone in his next at bat. That turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead, which Santander added to with a two-run shot off Gerson Bautista in the sixth.

“Made a mistake early and came back and had a big hit for us,” Hyde said. “We want to win and it feels way better to win, but I was more happy with how we played. That’s my thing. I just want us to play the game well.”

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.