Mariners hammer Orioles


SEATTLE — A homestand that began with the Mariners in seeming disarray ended Wednesday night with considerable optimism that they have turned their season in a positive direction.

The Mariners defeated the Orioles, 8-3, at Safeco Field to give them their second straight series win, after not having any previously. They won five out of seven games on the homestand after enduring a trip in which they were swept by Texas and lost two of three to lowly Houston.

The last loss to the Astros caused a fuming manager Eric Wedge to close the clubhouse for a few fiery words, and he seems to have gotten his message across. A Mariner offense that was flailing — and largely failing — has been highly productive.

The Mariners had 11 hits in this one, the sixth time in seven games on this homestand they’ve reached double digits. The Mariners are hitting .299 over their last nine games to raise their team average from .218 to .245.

The catalysts on Wednesday included Kendrys Morales, who had three hits and drove in three runs, two on a sixth-inning double that short-hopped the center-field wall; Michael Morse, who blasted his ninth homer with a man aboard in the fourth; and Michael Saunders, who had three hits and scored three runs.

Mariners starter Aaron Harang worked six strong innings to record his first victory in four starts since being acquired by Seattle. Coming in with an 11.37 earned-run average, Harang likely was pitching to retain his spot in the rotation, perhaps even on the roster.

Harang blanked the Orioles on one hit over the first five innings before getting touched for three hits and two runs in the sixth. Carter Capps and Tom Wilhelmsen finished out the victory.

The Mariners had gotten off to a quick start with a two-out rally in the first off Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen. Jason Bay drove it in with a double into the left-field corner.

The Mariners got another run in the second, a rally that began with the rarest of occurrences — a Jesus Montero triple. It was his first in 691 plate appearances in the major leagues, though he did have six in the minors.

The slow-footed Montero hit a drive to center that tipped off the glove of Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones just before he crashed into the wall, as the ball careened away from him. An exuberant Montero clapped his hands and raised his arms in triumph as he puffed into third.

Saunders brought home Montero with a single, stole second, and came home himself on a two-out single by Morales.

Morse plated two more with a two-out, opposite-field homer off Chen in the fourth, scoring Saunders, who had reached on a bunt single. Morse became the first Mariners player with nine homers in the team’s first 30 games since Mike Cameron in 2002. Cameron had four of those in one game.

The Mariners played those 30 games with just one day off, a brutal stretch that now eases with four idle days out of the next 12.