SEATTLE – Journeyman left-hander Wade LeBlanc is building a case to be more than a temporary replacement in the Mariners bullpen. And rookie Edwin Diaz is emerging as a dominant set-up reliever.
Throw in homers from Seth Smith, Kyle Seager and Dae-Ho Lee, and the result Friday was a 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Safeco Field.
LeBlanc (1-0) delivered a second straight strong start when he held the Orioles to two runs and three hits in six innings. That followed six scoreless innings in his previous start after arriving in a June 22 deal from Toronto.
Mike Montgomery inherited a 3-2 lead from LeBlanc and pitched around a single and an error in a scoreless seventh before the Mariners turned to Diaz in the eighth inning against the top of the Orioles’ lineup.
Diaz yielded a one-out single to Jonathan Schoop but struck out Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Chris Davis in protecting a one-run lead.
Lee’s homer was a two-run blast in the eighth against reliever Chaz Roe, which provided closer Steve Cishek with a three-run cushion. Cishek responded by setting down the Orioles for his 20th save in 24 chances.
The Mariners have now won five of seven on their nine-game homestand in improved to 41-39. The last two victories came against the Orioles, who arrived Thursday with a seven-game winning streak.
Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman (1-6) carried a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning but yielded a leadoff double to Nelson Cruz into the right-center gap.
Seager then fouled off two 96 mph fastballs before crushing a third one for a 429-foot drive to right for a two-run homer. The Mariners led 3-2.
Smith gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead with a booming one-out homer in the first inning that caromed off the scoreboard at the base of the second deck in right field.
The Orioles pulled even on Chris Davis’ leadoff homer in the second inning on a fly with just enough carry to clear the center-field wall over a leaping Leonys Martin.
Joey Rickard’s one-out double past third in the third inning led to the go-ahead run for Baltimore when Schoop punched a two-out RBI single to left.
Lee pulled a one-out double past third base in the fourth inning and, before he reached second, the Safeco sound system was playing the theme to “Speed Racer.”
Which is funny. But Speed had to hold at third on Chris Iannetta’s two-out single up the middle, which allowed Gausman to hold the lead when he retired Ketel Marte on a grounder to second.
Speed circled the bases at his own pace in the eighth inning.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.