O’s hope to end home season on high note vs. M’s

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The Baltimore Orioles will try to bounce back from a tough loss and end their home season on a good note Sunday when they take on the Seattle Mariners in the finale of their three-game series.

Seattle rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 4-3 and pulled out a 7-6 victory in 13 innings Saturday night on an odd play. Mallex Smith scored all the way from second base on pinch hitter Tim Lopes’ infield single to snap a 6-6 tie in the top of the 13th.

Baltimore has lost numerous games thanks to bullpen problems late in contests, and it’s happened a few times this week against Toronto and now Seattle. The Orioles have hit the ball effectively, but they can’t hold leads.

On Saturday, Mychal Givens had a 4-3 lead but gave up a three-run homer in the eighth (to J.P. Crawford). Rookie Austin Hays hit a two-run homer for Baltimore that tied the game in that inning and sent it to overtime. Pitcher Tanner Scott then couldn’t catch a soft toss from second baseman Hanser Alberto at first with two outs in the 13th on a Smith grounder, and that error began the game-winning rally.

The Orioles must improve their bullpen in 2020 and beyond as part of their rebuilding effort, and that’s something manager Brandon Hyde and management have discussed, the skipper told MASN.com Saturday.

“Hopefully going forward we’ll have some guys in here who are a little bit more consistent out of the bullpen, and you know that they’re going to come in and throw strikes and you know that they’re going to come in and pound the strike zone and attack hitters and have stuff to get guys out,” Hyde said. “But this (year) it just didn’t happen.”

The teams have split the first two games of this series, and the Orioles will be attempting to win their first series since taking two of three from Kansas City in late August.

John Means (10-11, 3.65 ERA) starts for Baltimore against Seattle left-hander Marco Gonzales (16-11, 4.14) in the Sunday series finale.

Means has been pitching much better after slumping a bit following his July All-Star game appearance. But he gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings and took the loss last Sunday in Detroit. Means has never faced the Mariners.

Gonzales has no record and a 10.57 ERA in two career appearances versus Baltimore.

The Mariners have now won six of seven after their come-from-behind victory on Saturday. Smith’s speed helped Seattle to the winning run in the 13th.

After he reached on the error, Smith stole second and then scored from there on the Lopes grounder. Smith now has 45 stolen bases this season and leads the major leagues in that category– the steal was crucial to letting him score from second.

Manager Scott Servais told MLB.com after Saturday’s game that pitcher Austin Adams hyperextended his left knee in the 7-6 win and will have an MRI on Sunday. They don’t believe anything was torn, but Adams needed to be helped off the field after the injury that happened while he was trying to cover first in the seventh.

Rookie sensation Kyle Lewis kept on hitting in Saturday’s win. He went 2-for-5 and now is 15-for-45 since coming up on Sept. 10.

His .333 average and 45 at-bats include six homers and 12 RBI, and Lewis keeps impressing Servais.

“I think the biggest thing with Kyle is they just made sure he stayed on the field this year,” Servais said to MLB.com earlier in this series. “There are areas in his game — defense, base-running — where he has a lot of growth left. But we certainly like what we’ve seen at the plate. He’s handled his at-bats very well. He’s off to a great start.”

–Field Level Media

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