By Brittany Ghiroli and Jake Kring-Schreifels
BALTIMORE -- Nelson Cruz homered and drove in a season-high five runs as the Mariners trounced the red-hot Orioles, 10-0, in Tuesday's series opener at Camden Yards.
Cruz, who played for Baltimore in 2014, had a two-run single in the first inning off starter Ubaldo Jimenez and hit a two-run shot off struggling lefty reliever Brian Matusz. Kyle Seager also homered off Matusz, blasting a three-run shot in a five-run fifth to help Seattle improve to 14-6 on the road.
Mariners starter Wade Miley pitched six scoreless innings and didn't allow a hit until the fifth. Miley struck out three and held a dangerous Oriole lineup to two hits.
Robinson Cano went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored for Seattle.
Jimenez went 4 1/3 innings, surrendering six runs on five hits and four walks, while Matusz allowed four earned runs over 1 1/3 innings
"It's tough," Matusz said of his season so far. "It's frustrating, especially the situation there with Seager, with Ubaldo's runners on base, you want to get the job done. I think all of us in the bullpen, we take pride in being able to get a job done and so far this year, I haven't been able to do it. It's frustrating and things can only get better from here."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Miley's scoreless start: Miley labored over 30 pitches in the first inning, escaped without a blemish, and then quickly settled down. He retired eight of the next nine O's hitters, not allowing a hit until Matt Wieters' single to lead off the fifth. He finished his outing after six frames for the third consecutive start, surrendering just two hits on 97 pitches to collect his fourth victory.
"I kind of just trusted what [catcher] Chris [Iannetta] did," Miley said. "Chris did a great job, had a great game plan going in and [I] just tried to execute pitches and was able to get outs with them." More >
Middle-inning might: The Mariners sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth inning and rapped out four hits, the biggest coming from Seager, who launched an 0-2 fastball just out of the reach of right fielder Joey Rickard -- his eighth of the season. The next inning, Cruz followed with a two-run shot, this time to left field to score Cano and extend the Mariners' lead to 10-0. The home run capped a season-high five-RBI night for Cruz, as he, Seager and Cano combined to drive in all 10 Seattle runs.
"Awesome," manager Scott Servais said of the offense. "When those guys roll, we typically score. Robbie was locked in, Nelly right in the first inning, it's nice to jump out on Jimenez in the first inning, kind of gets us going on the road trip. Then Seager the big home run there as well, [a] well-played game by us." More >
Another short start for Jimenez: For the third time in four starts, the O's right-hander went five or fewer innings in what's becoming a disturbing trend. Jimenez struggled early and allowed a pair of first-inning runs, but retired 12 of 13 before things went awry again in the fifth.
"After the first inning, I was able to settle down," Jimenez said. "In the fifth inning, they were able to find holes. Two out of three hits they got, like the one to [Norichika] Aoki and Cano, they were good pitches. They just found the holes." More >
Matusz meltdown: Tasked with limiting the damage of a short start, Matusz continued to struggle. The left-hander was charged with four runs on five hits, including two homers, and saw his ERA balloon to a 12.00 since returning from the disabled list.
"He's had a lot of innings. I think that's his seventh or eighth outing," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who added that Matusz is healthy as far as he knows. "We've tried stretching him out and we've tried short. We'll continue to try. I know it's frustrating for him."
RICKARD'S WEB GEM
Rickard made a fantastic leaping catch at the right-field wall to rob Iannetta of an extra-base hit. Rickard ran to the ball and leapt up to backhand the ball, slamming into the wall and falling, but hanging on for the second out of the fifth inning.
"I was talking with [first-base coach Wayne Kirby], seems like he's really getting a feel for that wall out there," Showalter said. "Early on it was a challenge, just not knowing with the third deck and the depth perception there. Little by little, you can tell his breaks are more confident, knowing where things are and the depth perception of the third deck."
The Orioles used their manager's challenge on a potential slide interference play in the bottom of the ninth inning involving Pedro Alvarez. The ruling on-field, determined to be a fielder's choice, held up after a delay of two minutes, 23 seconds as the call stood.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Right-hander Taijuan Walker (2-2, 2.63 ERA) will take the ball Wednesday night at 4:05 p.m. PT and try to start another winning streak for the Mariners. He tallied nine strikeouts during his last start against the Rays, but was hurt by a grand slam.
Orioles: Baltimore sends Chris Tillman to the mound on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Tillman, who was drafted by Seattle and traded to Baltimore in 2008, is 5-1 with a 2.58 ERA.