BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles have reached an important landmark in their quest to reach the postseason for the third time in four years.
Their task now is to keep the momentum going for five more weeks.
Adam Jones hit a record-breaking home run , Welington Castillo had three hits and two RBIs and Baltimore beat the Seattle Mariners 7-6 Monday night for its fifth straight victory.
Chris Davis doubled in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning for the resurgent Orioles, who climbed over .500 (66-65) for the first time since June 11.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that if you’re .500 or below you’re not going to the playoffs,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Mathematically, we know that’s a given. Got another game tomorrow that could take you back in the other direction. That’s the world we live in.”
Following a three-game sweep in Boston with a 16-hit attack against the Mariners, Baltimore jumped past Seattle (66-66) to within 1 ½ games of idle Minnesota for the final AL wild-card spot.
“You’ve just got to keep your head down and try to win the next game,” Showalter said, “and figure out a way to score enough runs to do it.”
Seven was just enough on this night.
Jones’ solo home run in the fifth inning gave him 25 for an Orioles-record seventh consecutive season. He shared the mark of six with Cal Ripken Jr.
“That’s some select company,” Showalter said.
Ben Gamel homered and had a career-high five RBIs in Seattle’s third straight defeat.
“Some positive signs from our offense, no doubt,” manager Scott Servais said. “We played a crisper game tonight, but obviously not enough.”
With the score tied at 6, Trey Mancini led off the Baltimore seventh with a single off Emilio Pagan (1-3) and Davis followed with a liner into the right-field corner.
“I just missed down,” Pagan said. “He’s a good hitter, and he made me pay for it.”
Donnie Hart (2-0) pitched the seventh, Darren O’Day worked out of a jam in the eighth and Zach Britton got three outs for his 12th save — the first since his run of converting 60 in a row ended last week.
Seattle trailed 6-4 in the sixth before Chris Tillman issued successive one-out walks and Gamel smacked a two-run single off Mychal Givens.
Tillman gave up six runs, three hits and four walks — all of which turned into runs. A 16-game winner last year, Tillman is winless in 16 starts since May 7.
Mariners starter Marco Gonzales allowed five runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. He left with the bases loaded in the fourth , but Christian Bergman kept Seattle within 5-4 by retiring Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop on popups.
Jones connected off Bergman in the fifth for a two-run cushion. It was the 250th of his career.
Orioles SS Tim Beckham is known more for his bat than his glove, but he made three exceptional plays in the field. He opened the game with a solid pickup, snagged a short-hop grounder in the third and hit the dirt to start a 6-4-3 double play in the seventh.
“Tim Beckham had a great night at shortstop defensively,” Showalter said. “That’s probably one of the keys to the game.”
Mariners: Bergman had his contract selected from Triple-A Tacoma and RHP Dan Altavilla was optioned to the Rainiers. It’s Bergman’s third stint with Seattle this season.
Orioles: Hart was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, and RHP Mike Wright was optioned to the Tides.
Mariners: OF Jarrod Dyson (groin) took some swings and ran the bases prior to the game. He could return in the next day or two. . RHP Felix Hernandez (right biceps tendinitis) and LHP James Paxton (strained pectoral muscle) played catch without any issues. Both hope to throw 20-25 pitches off the mound Friday or Saturday in Seattle.
Orioles: Before the game, Britton insisted his left knee was fine. Britton had an MRI on the knee last week and had not pitched since Wednesday.
Mariners: In the second game of the series Tuesday night, Erasmo Ramirez (5-4, 4.52 ERA) makes his fifth start with Seattle since being obtained from Tampa Bay on July 28.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (12-8, 4.18 ERA) is 4-0 in six starts since July 6. The right-hander has a 2.66 ERA in August.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball