SEATTLE (AP) — Instead of just lamenting the change up that he let grab too much of the plate, Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie was also left kicking himself for a moment two batters before Justin Smoak’s three-run homer.
If Guthrie was able to catch Luke Scott’s throw cleanly on Ichiro Suzuki’s two-out grounder, then Smoak never would have got the chance to ruin Guthrie’s night.
“I don’t think you’ve ever seen me drop a ball that’s thrown to me,” Guthrie said. “It’s unfortunate.”
For 7 2/3 innings on Tuesday night, Guthrie was nearly untouchable. But in three batters it all came crashing down for the Orioles’ right-hander.
Smoak hit a two-out, three-run homer off Guthrie in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 3-2 win and hand Baltimore its fifth straight loss.
It was a stunning punch for Guthrie, who was cruising toward possibly the first shutout of his career. Entering the eighth, Guthrie had allowed just three singles.
And the eighth started just fine, getting consecutive flyball outs from Luis Rodriguez and Carlos Peguero before Guthrie’s fielding mistake.
Suzuki hit a grounder wide of first. Luke Scott made a backhand stop and Guthrie was at first in time but saw the throw from Scott glance off the top of his glove for an error.
“I tried to get it to him as fast as I could. It was a tough play and Jeremy is very athletic,” Scott said. “He’s made tremendous plays before. I led him two or three inches too far.”
Brendan Ryan, who accounted for two of Seattle’s five hits off Guthrie, then dropped a single in front of Nick Markakis in right field. After watching a fastball breeze past for a strike, Smoak unloaded on a change up, hitting it 408-feet into the right field seats for his eighth homer of the season.
While Smoak was getting a curtain call, Guthrie struck out Jack Cust to end the inning. But the damage was done.
“He put a pretty good swing on it,” Guthrie said. “It was down but into his swing path and he hit a big homer.”
It was the second time this season Guthrie (2-7) pitched an eight-inning complete game and lost. He struck out a season-high nine and his only walk was intentionally given to Suzuki back in the third.
Matt Wieters homered for the first time in more than a month, an opposite field drive in the seventh that gave Baltimore a 2-0 lead. But the Orioles missed on numerous chances against Seattle starter Erik Bedard to give Guthrie more run support.
Scott was at the center of one of those in fifth inning. Scott served a 3-2 pitch from Bedard into the left field corner for a double. Reimold followed with a looping single into left that left fielder Peguero appeared for a moment to have a chance to get. But Scott read the flight of the ball poorly, and after it landed broke for third. Peguero quickly fielded the ball on a hop and easily threw out Scott.
“It’s a situation where the right thing to do is go back to second, but I saw the ball hit the ground and took off for third,” Scott said.
Baltimore finally ended Bedard’s streak of 20 scoreless innings in the sixth when Robert Andino scored on Markakis’ double play grounder to short. Wieters then followed with his homer in the seventh, but the Orioles left the bases loaded after Andino popped out to right field and Adam Jones struck out on a high fastball from reliever Chris Ray.
Ray (2-1) pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief for the win and Brandon League pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 18 chances.
“It’s the type of game where you look back on the opportunities you had and just realize there was no margin for error,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)