BALTIMORE – Cliff Lee looked every bit like a Cy Young Award winner in his first victory with the Seattle Mariners.
Then again, the Baltimore Orioles have a way of making almost every starting pitcher look good.
Lee gave up one run before leaving in the eighth inning, Ryan Langerhans homered, and the Mariners cruised past the punchless Orioles 5-1 on Tuesday night in a matchup of last-place teams.
After giving up three players last December to get Lee from the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mariners figured it was only a matter of time before the 2008 Cy Young winner started to dominate the A.L. again.
Lee (1-1) allowed eight hits, struck out two and walked none in 71/3 innings. It was his third start since coming off the disabled list with an abdominal strain.
“Since I’ve been back, I’ve felt good,” he said. “I’ve given the team a chance each time I’ve taken the mound. That’s really all you can do as a starter. So far, it’s gone pretty good.”
Opposing pitchers have gone seven or more innings in 20 of Baltimore’s 33 games this season. Add Lee to that expanding list.
“We have faced good pitchers, but no excuses,” Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold said. “In the big leagues, you have to do a job and get hits.”
Lee, however, is better than most.
“He didn’t give in. You look at all great pitchers, and they don’t give in,” Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. “His concentration and intensity is off the chart.”
After Lee allowed two consecutive singles in the eighth, Brandon League got Miguel Tejada to hit into a double play. League also pitched the ninth to earn his first save for the Mariners, who have won two straight following an eight-game skid. Seattle is 4-0 against Baltimore and 9-19 against everyone else.
David Hernandez (0-5) gave up five runs, five hits and four walks in 52/3 innings. He has lost 11 straight decisions, the longest active streak in the majors and two short of the Orioles record held by Mike Boddicker (1987-88).
Langerhans broke a scoreless duel by leading off the fifth with his first home run. The Mariners then loaded the bases with two outs, and Hernandez walked Chone Figgins on a 3-2 pitch before Franklin Gutierrez flied out.
Seattle chased Hernandez during a three-run sixth. After retiring the first two batters, Hernandez walked two and gave up an RBI single to Rob Johnson. Another run scored when Reimold fumbled the ball, and Michael Saunders greeted Jason Berken with a run-scoring single.