Hill pitches seven scoreless innings as Orioles edge Mariners

SEATTLE -- Rich Hill missed the first six weeks of the season with an injured elbow. He allowed seven runs in his previous start. The kid catcher calling his pitches Monday night, Matt Wieters, was in his fourth day in the major leagues.

Against the anemic Mariners, it just didn't matter.

Hill allowed two hits in seven innings, Adam Jones and George Sherrill flourished against their former team and the Baltimore Orioles beat Seattle 1-0.

The Orioles sent former ace Erik Bedard to the Mariners for top outfield prospect Jones, reliever Sherrill and three other players in February 2008. While Bedard has been slowed by injuries, Jones and Sherrill have blossomed in Baltimore.

Jones doubled and scored the only run on a sacrifice fly by Aubrey Huff off Jarrod Washburn (3-4) in the sixth inning. After Jim Johnson struck out two in a perfect eighth, Sherrill finished for his 11th save in 13 chances. Sherrill has 42 saves and his only All-Star appearance since Seattle traded him.

"Boy, oh boy, I don't know we'll see a better pitched game than that," Orioles manager Dave Trembley gushed. "That's tremendous."

He hasn't seen Seattle all season.

Ichiro Suzuki tied the Mariners' record by hitting safely in his 25th consecutive game, but the AL's lowest-scoring team had one other hit following Suzuki's double in the first. The last 20 Mariners went down after Yuniesky Betancourt singled in the third.

This was Seattle's first loss in four 1-0 games this season.

"It's an awful shame to squander a pitching performance like that by Washburn. ... Same thing we've been talking about all year: fundamental baseball," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. "We have a lack of patience against a guy like Rich Hill."

Hill (2-0), who missed the start of the season with a strained elbow, struck out seven and walked three. He allowed seven runs, six earned, and six hits over 3 1/3 innings in his previous start against Toronto, when he said he tried to be too fine with a sinking fastball instead of attacking hitters.

He had vulnerable ones to go after Monday. Hill tied up Seattle with straighter fastballs, then had the Mariners nearly falling over home plate while lunging at curveballs as slow as 69 mph. They were so desperate against Hill, slugger Russell Branyan tried to bunt leading off the seventh.

Of course, it went foul. Branyan then struck out.

Asked how tough it was to hit Hill, Mariners Wladimir Balentien said, "We make it tough. With those breaking balls, we tried to do more than we can do."

Even Seattle's eight runs Sunday at the Los Angeles Angels were somewhat tainted. The Mariners failed twice late to drive home a runner from third base with less than two outs, then lost 9-8 after leading 8-1.

It happened again in the first inning Monday. Suzuki tied his career-high hitting streak set in 2007 and went to third on left fielder Nolan Reimold's error. But Betancourt popped out, Adrian Beltre struck out and Mike Sweeney popped out.

Hill retired his last 14 after taking the pointed dugout advice of pitching coach Rick Kranitz to throw with a more over-the-top delivery.

Baltimore ended its 17-inning scoring drought -- and Washburn's streak of 11 consecutive scoreless innings -- in the sixth. Jones led off with a double hit so hard over Balentien's head, the left fielder was slow to react to a possibly catchable drive. Jones advanced to third on Nick Markakis' single and scored when Huff hit a flyball to center.

Game notes
Bedard, finally healthy again, will make his first start against his former team Tuesday. ... Seattle C Rob Johnson fouled a ball off the inside of his left foot in the eighth. It was swollen afterward, but Wakamatsu thinks Johnson will be OK. The Mariners already have starting catcher Kenji Johjima on the DL with a broken toe. ... Australian Lauren Jackson, the perennial WNBA All-Star who recently chose to re-sign with the Seattle Storm instead of leave in free agency, was cheered while throwing out the ceremonial first pitch -- on a short hop to LHP Garrett Olson.