Shintaro Fujinami Worked a Scoreless 10th for His First Save; Orioles Beat Mariners 5-3

AP Photo/John Froschauer

SEATTLE (AP) — Cedric Mullins robbed Ty France of a homer in the ninth inning and hit a two-run homer in the 10th, and the AL-best Baltimore Orioles beat the Seattle Mariners in extra innings for the second straight day, 5-3 on Sunday.

“It’s crazy,” Mullins said. “There’s always that scenario of what’s better, to rob a home run or hitting one, but to do it basically within an inning is pretty cool.”

Mullins, who entered in the sixth as a defensive replacement, leaped and reached over the wall in center field to snag France’s deep drive off Mike Baumann. Mullins fell face-first to the warning track with the ball in his glove and pumped his fist as he jumped to his feet.

“Catch of the year,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “He didn’t start the game, he finished it. Amazing.”

Mullins said it was among the best defensive plays of his career.

“I’d say the moment, for sure, ranks in top three. Might be number one, I’d have to go back and look through the archive,” Mullins said with a smile. “But just a fun game all around for us.”

Two pitches after Mullins’ catch, Dominic Canzone hit a 96 mph fastball from Baumann 402 feet to right and flipped his bat as he admired the homer that tied the game at 3-all.

Mullins had been 0-for-9 since his return from the injured list when he came up with one out in the 10th. He hit a long drive just outside the right-field foul pole on a 2-1 pitch from Trent Thornton (0-1) and then, two pitches later, sent a drive over the wall in right to score automatic runner Gunnar Henderson.

“I was looking at it, saw it tail and thought it was going to hit the pole or at least stay in,” Mullins said of his long foul ball. “For me to be able to grind the rest of that at-bat out and find a way to hit another one, that’s pretty special.”

Nick Vespi (1-1) got the final out in the ninth and Shintaro Fujinami worked a scoreless 10th for his first save.

AP Photo/John Froschauer
Baltimore Orioles catcher James McCann, left, and relief pitcher Shintaro Fujinami, right, hug after a win over Seattle Mariners in a baseball game, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, in Seattle.

Baltimore moved three games ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East, taking two of three from Seattle, which fell 1 1/2 games behind Toronto for the final AL wild card. The Orioles won 1-0 in 10 innings on Saturday night to end the Mariners’ eight-game winning streak.

With the game tied 2-all in the ninth, Seattle reliever Andrés Muñoz allowed a double to Jordan Westburg and walked James McCann. With Adley Rutschman at the plate, Muñoz was called for a balk, putting runners on second and third. Seattle manager Scott Servais was ejected arguing the call.

“To call that in that situation, you’re looking to make an impact in the game,” Servais said. “He made an impact in the game, the umpire did, for sure.”

Rutschman then hit a tapper back to Muñoz. Pinch-runner Jorge Mateo barely beat the play at the plate, sliding in just under catcher Cal Raleigh’s tag to put the Orioles ahead 3-2.

Canzone’s tying homer in the ninth was his first for the Mariners, who acquired him from Arizona at the trade deadline.

Mariners rookie Bryce Miller continued a stretch of strong Seattle starting pitching, allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. It was the 10th time in 17 starts Miller has gone at least five innings and given up no more than one earned run, and it was the seventh straight game in which a Mariners starter met those marks.

Orioles starter Kyle Bradish allowed two runs on five hits in six innings, with seven strikeouts.