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Talking Behind Their Back: Mariners

So the Orioles' second crack at the Mariners looked surprisingly similar to their first series against the team back in Seattle last week as Baltimore took the first game but lost the final two.

Brad Bergesen continued his string of solid starts since gaining Matt Wieters as his batterymate, going eight innings to pick up the 3-1 win. In his three starts with his friend Wieters at catcher, Bergesen is 2-0 and has delivered three quality starts, making it through eight innings twice.

In Game 2, Baltimore's sleeping bats were put further under by having to face Seattle ace Felix Hernandez who pitched seven innings of one-run ball to get the win over Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie was victimized by Seattle second baseman Jose Lopez, who hit two home runs to lead the Mariners offense in a 4-1 victory.

Game 3 featured the return of Koji Uehara from the disabled list (a move that was made by optioning pitcher David Hernandez back down to Class AAA Norfolk) where he'd been recovering from a strained hamstring. Uehara took the loss in his return as the Mariners greeted him after a short rain delay with three runs in the second inning. Former Oriole Garrett Olson picked up the win for Seattle while still looking like the old Olson, as The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec described:

"[The Orioles] have watched him struggle to throw strikes, allow a litany of hard-hit balls and ultimately depart a game before it reached the middle innings. ... Yet there he was walking off the mound in position to win a game in which he looked as if he might not survive the first inning."

The 6-3 Mariners victory served as Olson's first of the season and the Orioles are now 0-2 against former starters who are now pitching for Seattle (not a split you'll find over at Baseball Reference).

As has been the case for a while now, the offense continues to struggle, except for Luke Scott and Nolan Reimold. The two have combined to hit Baltimore's last 14 home runs with each hitting one in the series. Since putting up seven runs against the Detroit Tigers two weeks ago, the Orioles have averaged only 1.8 runs per game (a stretch of 11 games), are batting just .217 and are getting less than two walks per game.

The Orioles hope to figure out a way to warm up their bats (hats for bats, perhaps?) as they continue their nine-game homestand by hosting the Atlanta Braves. Tonight's game will feature a matchup of two rookie pitchers - one well hyped, the other not so much.

Jason Berken will be on the mound for Baltimore while trying to erase his last performance where he gave up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings. Berken will do so against pitching phenom Tommy Hanson who, in his major league debut Sunday gave up six earned runs in six innings.

Game 2 will pit Rich Hill (also trying to shake off a disastrous last start - three runs, four walks, 2/3 of an inning) by facing Kenshin Kawakami. Kawakami and Uehara were the biggest Japanese acquisitions this offseason with Kawakami seen as the better of the two. However, Kawakami is 3-6 with a 4.62 ERA in 11 starts and hasn't won since holding Toronto scoreless for eight innings in a 1-0 Braves win on May 22. That win was far and away Kawakami's best start of the season and is only one of two times that he has lasted more than six innings.

Atlanta will be throwing out its ace, Derek Lowe, in the Sunday finale of the series to face Bergesen in a battle of sinkerballers. Lowe has pitched at least six innings in all but three of his 13 starts this season and is 7-3 with a 3.44 ERA. Lowe, a former member of the Red Sox, is 8-7 with a 3.88 ERA all-time against the Orioles.

Perhaps more memorably, Lowe was the center of a 2002 brawl between Boston and Baltimore at Camden Yards with then-O's outfielder Gary Matthews, Jr. Matthews charged Lowe from first base which ultimately led to former reliever Willis Roberts barreling out of the Orioles bullpen and throwing haymakers at anyone in sight. Ah, memories.

By CJ Holley  |  June 12, 2009; 3:39 PM ET
Categories:  Braves , Mariners , Orioles  | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Orioles Red Sox Brawl, Seattle Mariners, Talking Behind Their Back  
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