Orioles pound Mariners, move within half-game of first place in AL East

SEATTLE -- Chasing their first playoff berth in 15 years, the Baltimore Orioles are getting contributions from everyone on the roster.

Nate McLouth provided a quick start with a leadoff home run and the Orioles beat the Seattle Mariners 10-4 Monday night to tighten the AL East race.

Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer and Adam Jones scored four times for the Orioles, who moved within a half-game of the first-place New York Yankees. Baltimore also opened a three-game cushion over the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild-card spot.

"Just like scoring in a lot of innings, it's just the pass-the-baton mentality," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I think the pitchers feel the same way, too. They're staying focused for these nine innings, they turn the page, then there's the next nine innings."

Chris Tillman (8-2) allowed one run and three hits over six innings, supported by Baltimore's 15 hits. He struck out four and walked none.

"We're all clicking right now," Tillman said. "We're going on all cylinders, playing good baseball. It's fun to watch."

Jones and Tillman were two of the five players Seattle sent to the Orioles in a lopsided trade for left-hander Erik Bedard in February 2008. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA in four career starts against his former club -- and 11-17 with a 5.44 ERA against everyone else.

Tillman came out of his previous start Sept. 2 after three innings because of an inflamed nerve in his right elbow. He had three bullpen sessions since then and said he felt fine.

"He's done well, period," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He's pitched well this year but, yes, he has pitched well against us, too. He's kind of short arm, over the top, a little bit sneaky, real good breaking ball. Then he mixes in his changeup a little. He did a nice job."

McLouth, Wieters and Jones had three hits apiece. Mark Reynolds added two RBIs, and Jones' four runs set a season high for a Baltimore player.

For the second consecutive game, seven players had at least one RBI for the Orioles.

Baltimore has not finished higher than third place since the team won the AL East in 1997. The Orioles had 14 straight losing seasons until this year.

The Mariners scored all their runs on homers. Michael Saunders hit an opposite-field shot, his 16th, to left in the second off Tillman. Eric Thames hit his eighth off Zach Phillips in the eighth and John Jaso had a two-run drive, his ninth, off Luis Ayala in the ninth.

The Orioles jumped on starter Hector Noesi (2-12) from the first batter and didn't let up until they chased him after just 1 1/3 innings.

McLouth opened the game with a home run into the right-field seats on an 0-2 pitch. Reynolds and Manny Machado each had an RBI single later in the first.

J.J. Hardy and Reynolds each had a run-scoring double in a four-run second, and Jones added an RBI single. Another run scored on an error for a 7-0 lead.

"It's everyone picking the next guy up," Reynolds said. "We need guys to get hot right now to stay in this race. The Yankees aren't going anywhere. Oakland is a good team. Tampa Bay is right there. The Angels are a really good team. We have to take care of our own by winning games. Whether it's Wieters or Jonesy or someone else, everyone has to step up."

Noesi gave up eight hits and six earned runs in his 54-pitch outing. He walked two and struck out one.

"Hector has to be better than that," Wedge said. "It just wasn't a good day at all for him."

Wieters hit a two-run homer to center in the fourth on the first pitch from Oliver Perez. It was his 22nd, tying his career high.

Endy Chavez finished the Orioles' scoring with an RBI single in the sixth.

"That's impressive, our production around," McLouth said. "Definitely not counting on one or two guys alone is pretty important."

Game notes
The Orioles have won six of seven meetings with the Mariners this season. ... Showalter said he's "pleasantly surprised" that OF Nick Markakis does not need more surgery on his injured right thumb. Markakis was hurt Sept. 8 and was given a six-week timetable for a return. It's unlikely he'll be available unless the club advances well into the playoffs. ... Orioles RHP Jason Hammel, who came out of his start last Tuesday with a knee issue, is progressing slowly, according to Showalter. It's uncertain when he will start again. ... Baltimore RHP Miguel Gonzalez likely will start Friday in Boston. ... Wedge started his regulars. "We are going to put out our best lineup," he said. He added that his players are doing more than just showing up. "No one is looking at the finish line right now," he said. "I don't sense that at all. They're all focused on today."