SEATTLE (AP) — Wade LeBlanc, Seattle’s latest entry in its beleaguered rotation, may not be racking up the victories in rapid fashion but the Mariners appreciate anything he can provide.
LeBlanc, acquired in a trade with Toronto on June 22, was critical in the Mariners’ 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night, earning his first victory since Sept. 23, 2014.READ MORE: Colin Powell, Military Leader And First Black US Secretary Of State, Dies After Complications From COVID-19
Kyle Seager and Dae-Ho Lee hit two-run homers to power the second straight victory over the American League East-leading Orioles.
LeBlanc (1-0) worked six innings, giving up three hits and two runs while walking one and striking out five. He went 646 days between victories.
“Anytime you get a win, it’s fun,” the 31-year-old left-hander said, “whether it’s five days or 563 days, or however long it is. I don’t take anything for granted.”
His last win was with the Los Angeles Angels against Oakland at the end of his 2014 season. He then played for the Seibu Lions last season and signed a minor-league deal this year with the Blue Jays. He was in the minors when the Mariners acquired him.
“That’s not an easy lineup to navigate through with all the power they have, but he kind of took some sting out of their bats and kept them off balance,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
The Mariners have had injuries and inconsistencies in the rotation. Ace Felix Hernandez (strain calf) is on the disabled list, Wade Miley (shoulder) just returned from the DL, Taijuan Walker missed his previous start with a sore foot and Nathan Karns has been dispatched to the bullpen.
In LeBlanc’s debut with the Mariners on June 24, he went six innings against St. Louis, allowing three hits without a run. He had a 23 2/3 innings scoreless streak — dating to 2014 — entering Friday’s game.
“He’s been phenomenal in both his starts,” Seager said. “The tempo he throws at, the amount of strikes he throws, the way he goes right after people. He doesn’t shy away. That’s a really good offense over there. He’s giving us a chance in these games.”
Another newcomer, hard-throwing Edwin Diaz, promoted from Double-A Jackson June 6, is also making an impact. In the eighth, he struck out Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Chris Davis. He has 26 strikeouts in first 13 relief appearances.READ MORE: Maryland's Leaders & Residents React To Colin Powell's Death
“You’ve got to tip your hat to him (LeBlanc), and their relievers. I think that’s five out of seven for Diaz,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “You know why they like him so much. He’s doing a great job for them. He’s got a great young arm.”
Steve Cishek worked the ninth for his 20th save in 24 opportunities.
Kevin Gausman (1-6) took the loss. He went six innings and allowed three runs and eight hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.
“He just made a couple of mistakes,” Showalter said. “When we’re not scoring runs it gets magnified.”
The teams traded early home runs. Seattle’s Seth Smith hit one in the first inning — his eighth — and Baltimore’s Davis went deep in the second — his 20th. It was Davis’ 181st as an Oriole, one behind Ken Singleton for eighth place on the club’s all-time list.
The Orioles took a 2-1 lead in the third on Jonathan Schoop’s two-out single, scoring Joey Richard from second.
Nelson Cruz started the sixth with a double off the wall in right-center field. He has played 50 games against his former team and has reached base safely in 47, including 45 with at least one hit.
Seager, protecting an 0-2 count, caught a high 96-mph fastball from Gausman and ripped it 15 seats into the bleachers in right. It was his 16th.
In the eighth, with Cruz on first, Lee hit his 11th home run, to left field off Chaz Roe.MORE NEWS: 'Thought It Was My Body, My Choice': Northrop Grumman Employees Protest Vaccine Mandate
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