Shut out on four hits in the first seven innings, the Orioles broke out with five runs in the eighth — highlighted by two-run homers by Cedric Mullins and Freddy Galvis — and defeated the Seattle Mariners, 5-3, on Monday night before 5,776 at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
In his best start of the season, Dean Kremer allowed just two hits in six innings. One was Tom Murphy’s third home run of the season in the fifth.
“I thought Dean was in control the whole way through,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He pitched extremely aggressive tonight, and that was fun to watch, and then the five-spot in the eighth was just a really good rally.”
The Mariners (16-14) used seven pitchers. Their sixth, Anthony Misiewicz (2-1), gave up Mullins’ fifth home run after Pat Valiaka drew a leadoff walk.
Rightfielder Mitch Haniger nearly caught Mullins’ drive, but it tipped off the top of his glove. It reminded the Orioles of the catch Oakland centerfielder made that robbed DJ Stewart in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game.
“The dugout was silent,” Hyde said. “The person who had the most poise was Cedric. I didn’t know Haniger didn’t catch it until he was on the ground, looking disappointed.”
Valaika wasn’t sure if Mullins’ ball was gone, and he stopped in the basepaths, but Mullins knew enough not to pass him.
“I knew it had a chance,” Mullins said. “At the same time, I knew it had a chance to stay in as well. When he jumped, I had no visual of what happened. I just saw him jump up, heard the crowd go crazy, and though he had it.
“He looked like he wasn’t sure. He was slow to get up. That’s why I was holding my hands up for Pat to keep going, keep going.”
Mullins had three hits, and his batting average is .333 with a .942 OPS. He leads the major leagues with 38 hits.
“It blew up in there,” Kremer said. “Everybody thought it was caught for a second. The bullpen was yelling, ‘that’s gone, that’s gone, that’s gone.’”
Austin Hays followed Mullins’ home run with a double down the third base line, moved to third on Trey Mancini’s fly ball and scored on Maikel Franco’s infield out to shortstop. Wyatt Mills walked Ryan Mountcastle, and Galvis hit his third home run to left-center to put the Orioles (14-15) ahead, 5-1.
After Cole Sulser (1-0) relieved Kremer and pitched a spotless seventh, Shawn Armstrong gave up a two-run home run to Haniger in the eighth to close the gap to 5-3.
Tanner Scott relieved Armstrong and retired Ty France on a fly ball to center and Kyle Seager on a grounder to short. César Valdez pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save in nine chances.
Seattle manager Scott Servais thought a game pitched by his bullpen could hold down the Orioles, and it did for seven innings.
“I never like to go face a team that’s throwing a bullpen day,” Hyde said. “You don’t know what to expect. You usually have one shot at a guy for an inning. They have a really good bullpen with a lot of good arms. I had a feeling it was going to be tough.”
Kremer walked two and struck out four.
“I feel like stuff has been the same since the beginning of the season,” Kremer said. “But tonight, I tried out a different mental game and made sure I was staying on the attack and never really backing down from anybody.”
Managing Rutschman: Bowie’s Buck Britton knows there’s pressure as manager of the Orioles’ top prospect, catcher Adley Rutschman. The Baysox will play their first game on Tuesday night at Altoona.
“Coaching third base as well, ‘do I send this guy to the plate with a possible play at the plate?’” Britton said on Monday. “I think you have to treat everybody the same. The second you start getting scared or timid is when you did end up getting him hurt.
“This kid takes care of his body. He’s super athletic. He’s just got to go out there and play. Guys get hurt all the time. It’s part of the game. He does everything he can to stay healthy. We’re just going to let Adley go out there and play. That’s the best thing for him.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure, but there’s also a lot of joy, to be a part of this kid’s journey. Hopefully, this guy’s a staple for us for a long time, and to be a part of it early on and build that relationship with him, it’s more exciting than anything else.”
Notes: The Mets released former Oriole catcher Caleb Joseph. … Jorge López (1-3, 7.48 ERA) will face face Justin Dunn (1-0, 3.98) on Tuesday night at 10:10.
Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions later this week. You may leave yours in the comment box below or email them to: Rich@BaltimoreBaseball.com.