SEATTLE (AP) — For much of the season, the Seattle Mariners were not quite sure what to expect from Taijuan Walker.
After the hard-throwing right-hander held the Baltimore Orioles to just four hits over his 6 1/3 innings in the Mariners’ 5-3 victory Thursday night, manager Scott Servais has a better idea.
“That’s the guy,” Servais said. “That’s the guy we saw earlier in the year. We just haven’t seen for a while.”
Seth Smith had the key hit for the Mariners, a two-run home run in the fifth.
Walker (4-6), who was 2-0 in April and 0-5 in May, developed painful tendinitis in his right foot about a month ago. He came out of his June 19 start after five innings and had not started in 10 days.
He gave up a solo home run to Hyun Soo Kim in the seventh but that was the only runner to get past first base. He struck out five and walked none.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, “and he was on top of his game.”
Walked said he felt the pain in the foot from the opening pitch “but sometimes you have to pitch through it. … I hope it goes away but for now I’ll just do my routine in between starts and stay off of it as much as I can.
“It’s a great team win, something we needed.”
Kim’s home run allowed the Orioles to set the major league record for most home runs in June with 56. The 1996 Oakland A’s had the previous record of 55.
Chris Tillman (10-2) took the loss, ending his nine-game win streak. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings, his second-shortest outing in 17 starts this season. He gave up four runs and six hits, walking three and striking out three.
“I never felt like I didn’t have it,” Tillman said. “I mean it was there, it was close. I just wasn’t able to make some pitches with the off-speed stuff when I need to.”
It also was Tillman’s first career loss to the Mariners, who traded him to the Orioles in 2006. He is now 7-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 10 career starts against Seattle.
Before the game, Servais said he talked to his veteran players about their “intensity level and where it needs to go.”
Nelson Cruz, who had two doubles and scored a run, said, “we have to play with a little chip on the shoulder. It’s nice see everyone contribute today.”
Center fielder Leonys Martin displayed his intensity and some leather with a pair of superb defensive plays. In the second, he raced straight back to the warning track, hopped up and stretched over his head to haul in a Mark Trumbo blast.
Then in the fourth, Manny Machado lined a shot off the wall in right-center, a yard short from a home run. Martin gathered it quickly and threw to shortstop Ketel Marte, who then fired to first to get Machado rounding the bag too far.
“Leonys, man, he’s bailing me out,” Walker said. “Couple nice plays.”
Martin started the Mariners’ three-run fifth with a one-out single to left. Smith attempted to advance Martin with a bunt but popped it foul. On the next pitch, he roped his seventh home run into the right-field seats.
Dae-Ho Lee had two RBI for the Mariners.
The Orioles rallied for two runs in the eighth as Kim and Machado each had RBI singles.
Closer Steve Cishek earned a four-out save, his 19th in 23 opportunities.
Catcher Mike Zunino, the Mariners’ first-round draft choice in 2012, was called up from Triple-A Tacoma after backup catcher Steve Clevenger broke his hand Wednesday. Zunino struggled in his starting role last season and the Mariners hope time in the minors helped. “From the reports I got, it has been better. He’s a more productive hitter and he’s controlling the strike zone better,” Servais said. “He’ll have plenty of opportunities to contribute.” Zunino was hitting .282 with 15 home runs and 51 RBI for Tacoma.
NO SECOND LEFTY
With the Orioles placing left-hand reliever T.J. McFarland on the 15-day DL Thursday, that leaves only one lefty on the roster, closer Zach Britton. “We haven’t had a left-hander step forward and seize that (second lefty role), like we hoped,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We have some guys who could potentially do that, but not a whole lot of experience. It’s something everyone is constantly looking for.”
Orioles: LHP T.J. McFarland was placed on the 15-day DL before Thursday’s game because of a nagging left knee injury. McFarland will fly to Baltimore Friday to have it examined by team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Jacobs then head to Sarasota, Florida, for rehab.
Mariners: The Mariners intend to insert RH Felix Hernandez (strained calf) into the rotation after the All-Star break. The lead-up plan is to have him throw a bullpen session Friday followed by a simulated game then two starts in the minors. … C Clevenger, who broke a bone in his right hand after being hit by a batted ball Wednesday, will have surgery Friday. He is expected back before season’s end.
Orioles: It took 13 starts but RH Kevin Gausman (1-5, 3.93) won his first game in his previous start Saturday against Tampa Bay, a 5-0 decision. He gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked no one in 7 2-3 innings. He is 0-1 with a 2.63 ERA in two career starts against Seattle.
Mariners: LHP Wade LeBlanc (0-0, 0.00), acquired in a trade with Toronto on June 21, allowed no runs and just three hits in his Mariners debut last Friday against St. Louis. The seven-year veteran has one career start against the Orioles, 0-0 with a 1.35 ERA.
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