BALTIMORE — should shake off any lingering blues from the Mariners’ miserable three-loss weekend to the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field.
Nelson Cruz drove in five runs Tuesday night in leading a balanced 12-hit attack that produced a 10-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
“This is how you have to go as a team,” said Robinson Cano, who had three hits and two RBIs. “Forget about what happened the past few days or even the day before.
“Just go up there and take advantage of a pitch over the plate.”
The Mariners took full advantage.
They were 5 for 8 with runners in scoring position, and their starting No. 2-5 hitters — Seth Smith, Cano, Cruz and Kyle Seager — were a combined 9 for 14 with two doubles, two homers, nine runs and all 10 RBIs.
“We needed a game like that,” manager Scott Servais said. “It was fun. The guys swung the bats really well, and (Wade) Miley did a nice job of going after them.”
Miley (4-2) labored through a 30-pitch first inning, which contributed to his removal after the sixth. Vidal Nuno and former Orioles pitcher Steve Johnson completed the Mariners’ third shutout of the season.
“I thought I made a couple of pitches in the first and didn’t get the call,” Miley said. “It is what it is. Move on. I snuck my way out of that somehow ... and I just kind of went from there.”
Cruz had a two-run single in the first inning against Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez (2-4), an RBI single in a five-run fifth that knocked out Jimenez and a two-run homer in a three-run sixth inning.
The victory ensured the Mariners (22-16) would remain atop the American League West Division by at least percentage points. They began the day with a lead of .004 over Texas, which played at Oakland.
Note also that the Orioles entered the game with the American League’s best record and the league’s second-best batting average. They finished with two hits. It happens. To everyone.
After losing three weekend home games to the Angels, and managing only two hits in Sunday’s loss, the Mariners struck for two runs in the first inning against Jimenez.
Smith drew a one-out walk and went to third on Cano’s double past third. Both runners scored when Cruz squirted a single past first. It stayed 2-0 until the Mariners blew open the game with a five-run fifth inning.
Nori Aoki started it by reaching on a one-out infield single. He went to second when Smith worked back from an 0-2 count for a walk. Cano and Cruz followed with RBI singles, which knocked out Jimenez.
Seager fell into an 0-2 hole against lefty Brian Matusz before crushing a 90-mph fastball for a 368-foot drive with just enough carry to reach the Baltimore bullpen in right field for a three-run homer.
“I got behind 0-2,” Seager said, “and I’ve got a guy (at) third there. The whole goal is to not chase another slider. Get him in the zone. Just get the ball out to the outfield (for a sacrifice fly). Fortunately, it got up.”
The Mariners led 7-0.
Baltimore finally got its first hit when Matt Wieters opened the bottom of the inning by lining a single off the center-field wall. Wieters was held to a single after Leonys Martin reached the ball quickly and made a strong throw to the infield.
It came to nothing. Miley retired the next three batters.
The Mariners made it 10-0 in the sixth inning and, again, it was the heart of the lineup. Smith grounded a two-out single up the middle and scored on Cano’s double into the left-center gap.
Cruz then rocked a 402-foot drive to left for a two-run homer. By then, that lost weekend to the Angels was fading quickly in the rearview mirror.
“Nobody was thinking about that,” Smith said. “That’s in the past. We came to play a game today. We happened to do really well, and we’ll try to do it again tomorrow.”
PLAY OF THE GAME: It had little impact on the game, but Baltimore right fielder Joey Rickard made an amazing catch in the corner on Chris Iannetta’s one-out drive in the fifth inning.
The Mariners had already scored five runs in the inning for a 7-0 lead and had a runner at first when Iannetta sliced a drive into the right-field corner. Rickard made a long run and leapt at the wall for the catch in fair ground.
Rickard slammed into the wall, spun his way off and held the ball.
PLUS: The Mariners had 10 or more hits for the 17th time in 38 games. ... The Mariners have won each of Miley’s past five starts. Miley has also pitched at least six innings in each of those starts. …Lefty Vidal Nuno recorded two innings of shutting down Baltimore’s hitters in order after replacing Miley. ... Kyle Seager went 2 for 4 and is batting .397 (25 for 63) over his past 16 games.
MINUS: Chris Iannetta was hitless in five at-bats, although he was robbed in the fifth inning by Rickard. ... Shortstop Ketel Marte was hitless in four at-bats and is 2 for 21 in his past five games. ... Shawn O’Malley made a throwing error on a routine grounder in the ninth inning after replacing Robinson Cano at second base.
STAT PACK: The Mariners are 14-6 on the road.
QUOTABLE: Cruz on the production from the heart of the lineup: “It’s huge. Robby (Cano) looks really good, and Kyle (Seager), he’s hot. We need those guys in front of us to get on base.”
RUNAWAY SMITH: Right fielder Seth Smith recorded seven putouts, including one on Adam Jones’ one-out popup to second in the sixth inning.
Smith raced past second baseman Cano to make the catch just a few steps off the infield dirt. The play prompted a wide incredulous smile from Cano and some subsequent chatter from teammates.
“That’s messed up,” Cano teased. “He forgot we’ve got a second baseman. He called it early. He’s the right fielder. He called it, so I got out of the way.
“The inning before, he said, ‘Make sure you hit a homer because I’ve been running too much.’ Then he runs for those fly balls. ‘What are you talking about?’ ”
Manager Scott Servais appreciated the effort.
“The outfield here is a lot smaller than Safeco Field,” Servais said. “So he’s playing a bit shallower than normal, and he got a little crazy. That’s OK. He needs to be going after them.
“We love the effort, and he was finishing them off. But when Robby is almost standing on the infield, and he calls him off, that’s a little too much.”
“Honestly ... right field is a little smaller here,” Smith said. “And the wind… Balls were just kind of ... they would come out a little bit, and then they’d hold up. It was just weird.
“I was under it and saw it…I don’t know what was going on.”
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners