Helling, Orioles too much for Mariners

For over a month now, the Seattle Mariners have been unable to string a few wins together. Making matters worse, it's happened against some of the worst teams in the American League. Wednesday they fell victim to an old nemesis from the American League West, Rick Helling, who evened the three-game series at one as he led the Orioles over the Mariners.

July 9, 2003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Seattle 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 9 0
Baltimore 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 2 1 7 14 0

WP R. Helling (6-6) 6 IP 7H 2R 2ER 1BB 4SO 0HR 5.65 ERA
LP R. Franklin (6-8) 6 2/3IP 8H 4R 4ER 1BB 3SO 1HR 3.75 ERA

Every time Ryan Franklin takes the mound, he knows he has to pitch the game of his life just to have a chance at a victory.

The reason? When Franklin pitches, the Seattle bats stop hitting.

In the second game of a three-game series against Baltimore, Franklin pitched well enough to earn a victory Wednesday but again failed to get adequate run support as the Mariners fell, 7-2, at Safeco Field.

The game was close through the first five innings, only to become a route later in the game.

Tied at one heading into the sixth, Franklin was touched up for three runs. The big blow came with two outs, when third baseman Tony Batista blasted a two-run homer of the left field wall to make it 4-1. Baltimore scored earlier in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Jay Gibbons to deep centerfield, scoring Melvin Mora.

Batista, a topic of trade rumors in Seattle over the past week, struggled in the first game of the series on Tuesday as the Mariners pitchers stayed inside on his hands with their pitches. His homer on Wednesday came on a ball left over the plate.

Seattle (56-33) scored a run in the sixth inning on a Mike Cameron single, but at 4-2 they never pulled closer.

Baltimore (40-47) added two runs in the eighth off of Aaron Taylor and another in the ninth off of Julio Mateo to widen the gap and pull away.

Ben Davis led Seattle from the plate with a 3-4 day. The promising former first-round pick by the San Diego Padres has his average up to .295 for the season, and appears more every day to be the M's catcher of the future.

Rick Helling (6-6) picked up the win, pitching six innings on the night. He allowed seven hits and two runs, and was fortunate enough to pitch through the sixth - Baltimore's breakout, three-run inning.

Hector Carrasco and Kerry Ligtenberg held Seattle scoreless for the final three innings.

Franklin (6-8), who allowed four runs through 6.2 innings, dropped his fourth decision in a row. In those four outings, the Mariners have scored just three runs in the 24.2 innings he's pitched.

Batista led the Orioles' 14-hit attack with a 3-5 day. Gibbons, Mora and B.J. Surhoff added two hits apiece.

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