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Orioles aim for sweep of Mariners

Resiliency continues to define the Baltimore Orioles and it is likely to lead to the club's first postseason berth since 1997.

A division title isn't out of the mix either and the O's try to stay in the hunt for the AL East crown on Wednesday night with a sweep of their three- game series versus the Seattle Mariners.

After rolling to a 10-4 victory in Monday's opener, the Orioles needed in a sense two games to best the Mariners on Tuesday.

Shut out through the first eight innings by Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez, Chris Davis drove in two runs in the ninth inning to force extra innings and Baltimore finally claimed a 4-2 victory in 18 innings on Taylor Teagarden's pinch-hit single and a fielder's choice by Mark Reynolds that plated another run.

Baltimore extended its franchise record by winning its 14th straight extra- inning game and improved to 28-8 this season in one-run games.

"It's a really important game," said Baltimore's Nate McLouth, who scored on Teagarden's hit. "It's hard to stay locked in for that long. We were lucky to scratch a couple across in the ninth after just a dominant pitching performance by their starter and things worked out our way in the last inning there."

The victory moved the Orioles into a tie with the New York Yankees for first place in the division. New York, which was rained out on Tuesday and will play a doubleheader today, has played two fewer games than Baltimore.

The Mariners squandered plenty of opportunities en route to a third straight defeat, going 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position and stranding 16.

"We had so many opportunities, one more hit and the game's over, so it wasn't that we weren't creating opportunities, just nobody stepped up offensively," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge.

Joe Saunders hopes to keep the Mariners' bats silent on Wednesday when he makes his fifth start for the Orioles since being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Saunders has split the first four outings, winning two in a row before taking a loss at the Oakland Athletics on Friday. The lefty yielded three runs on seven hits over six innings of a 3-2 defeat.

Still, he has given up just five runs in three starts since getting touched for six earned runs in his O's debut. The 31-year-old has a 4.30 earned run average with Baltimore and is 8-12 with a 4.24 ERA in 25 total starts this season.

Saunders is 8-1 in his career versus the Mariners in 14 starts, pitching to a 3.75 ERA.

Felix Hernandez hopes to put his September struggles to bed for the Mariners tonight.

The former Cy Young winner has lost three straight starts, giving up 16 earned runs over 16 innings in that time. That has dropped the right-hander to 13-8 through 30 starts while lifting his ERA from 2.43 to 2.92.

Hernandez matched a career high by allowing seven runs in a loss at the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday as he also yielded 10 hits and a walk in four innings.

"That's freaking terrible right there," Hernandez told Seattle's website. "If you throw a ball in the middle of the plate, they're going to hit it. It's on me."

The 26-year-old is 5-4 with a 3.65 ERA lifetime versus Baltimore, which has won seven straight versus Seattle and is 11-3 in this series since 2011.

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