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Seattle Mariners face Baltimore Orioles with time dwindling in wild-card race

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Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez delivers a pitch to the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning on September 15, 2013 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

By Gene Warnick, The Sports Xchange

The Seattle Mariners could find themselves peeking at the scoreboard and hoping the New York Yankees can take care of the Oakland Athletics.

They hope that scenario takes place while hoping they can beat the worst team in baseball. The Mariners head into the opener of a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles facing a 5 1/2-game deficit for the second wild-card spot with 25 games remaining.

They settled for a split in Oakland after taking an 8-2 loss and are returning after going 4-5 on a nine-game trip.

"We have an uphill climb ahead of us," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We have to go home and take care of business there and rattle off a good string of wins. We have to win five, six in a row and see what happens from there. There's still plenty of baseball to play, but it has to happen real quick for us. We need to have a real good homestand."

After facing the Orioles, the Mariners face the New York Yankees for three games and then go back on the road for nine games. Seattle won four games in Baltimore on June 25-28 to go to 51-31, but since then the Mariners are an inconsistent 25-30 while the A's have soared through the standings to get the second wild card.

Baltimore, meanwhile, heads to Seattle at 40-97 after getting swept in a three-game series in Kansas City in a matchup of the two worst teams in the majors. The Orioles were outscored 23-6 and committed three errors in Sunday's 9-1 loss. Before this weekend, Baltimore swept three games from Toronto, including the major league debut of Josh Rogers, who makes his second start Monday.

"I can't even lie. I woke up sick," the left-hander told MLB.com last Tuesday of his pregame jitters before facing Toronto. "I was pretty nervous all day and then I got to go to lunch with my family and my grandparents and my dad, mom, sister, girlfriend -- so it was really good to just kind of get away from it a little bit, stop thinking about it.

"It was good to do that and just get away from the game for a minute. Really, when I started playing catch in the outfield, it was like everything kind of settled in. It didn't feel like another night, but I was just trying to throw strikes."

Rogers, the first left-hander to start for the Orioles this season, went five innings in a 12-5 win and allowed three runs and seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts. He said he had about 30 friends and family members in attendance for his debut.

"I didn't want to take him out of the game, especially after seeing his mom and dad here," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of trying to get Rogers through five innings for the victory. "I planned coming into the game to take him to five, maybe the sixth tops. But we weren't really good in the bullpen for length. I don't know if relief is the word. I'm just proud how much that meant to him."

Rogers will get his first road start Monday night in Seattle against right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (1-3, 6.28).

Rogers, 24, was acquired by the Orioles from the New York Yankees as part of the deal for reliever Zach Britton.

Ramirez will be making his 18th career appearance against the Orioles, including seven starts. He's 2-4 with a 2.98 ERA against them. Ramirez last started Wednesday in San Diego when he was rocked for seven runs and nine hits in three innings.

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Sports - U.S. Daily News: Seattle Mariners face Baltimore Orioles with time dwindling in wild-card race
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