Seattle is on a nine-game road trip that should give them the opportunity to win a lot of games - starting tonight here in Baltimore.
The Orioles are struggling, Colorado begins the night seven games below .500 and the Padres are, well, the Padres.
The Mariners open the night with a 28-29 record and the chance to get to .500 with a win. They'd love to throw a 7-2 record at this trip, but that means not looking ahead against anyone.
Tonight, it's Jason Vargas vs. Brad Bergesen.
And we're off.
That was fast
A bullet down the left field line for a double by Brian Roberts, a four-pitch walk, then a stolen base.
Naturally, Adam Jones drove in the run with a fielders choice, and the Mariners trail by one.
It's the kind of baseball Seattle loves to play, but the Orioles have a slightly more aggressive base-stealing leadoff man in Roberts than the Mariners have in Ichiro.
Roberts has 11 steals in 15 attempts, Ichiro has nine in 13 attempts.
Melvin Mora hit a two-out, two-run home run and Seattle was in a three-run hole - or was it?
The umpiring crew huddled to determine whether left fielder Endy Chavez was interfered with at the wall - then went in to view the television replays.
The game-changing result?
Mora was ruled out, so the two runs didn't count. Ouch.
After one: Orioles 1, Mariners 0
Could you leave Ichiro home?
Ichiro began the night with a career average of .370 against the Orioles, the highest in franchise history.
That's Baltimore history!
And then it went up. Ichiro is 2-for-2 already tonight, so can his eighth three-hit night of the season be far behind?
He might even trade a hit for a run. In the first inning, Ichiro singled and was forced at second base. In the third, he singled and was stranded at first.
No interference there
Vargas left a one-out pitch belt high to Nolan Reimold, and the outfielder hit it into the Orioles bullpen.
Two runs feels like a lot tonight, because while Vargas has allowed only five hits, Bergeson has allowed only three - two to Ichiro.
Seattle has not threatened, having had only one man in scoring position all game. Yes, Vargas has kept it close. No, the Mariners haven't shown much at the plate.
After five: Orioles 2, Mariners 0
Goodnight, Mr. Vargas
Vargas gave up a pair of two-out singles and was lifted in favor of Brandon Morrow, he of the new mechanics.
Since losing his closders job in April, Morrow has worked in the bullpen on his stride. His left foot used to point toward first base when he landed. Now? Home plate.
That's allowed him to drive the ball, regain is velocity and ... well, give up RBI singles like the one that greeted him on his second pitch.
Morrow got the third out.
Against a team with a staff ERA of 5.29, the Mariners got to the ninth in with ... um ... no runs.
And there, they ran into old friend George Sherrill, one of the guys included in the Erik Bedard trade last year.
A situational lefty in Seattle, Sherrill is a closer in Baltimore and made the All-Star team last year enroute to 31 saves.
Against the heart of the Mariners lineup - Russell Branyan, Adrian Beltre, Ken Griffey Jr - Sherrill gave up a run with two outs to spoil the shutout.
Still, he earned his 12th save of '09.
It's a final: Orioles 3, Mariners 1