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Saunders belts 16th home run

SEATTLE -- If you were looking for an early indication on Monday night that Hector Noesi was going to struggle on the mound, there was really no need to search any further than the leadoff batter.

Nate McLouth started the game with a homer, and the Orioles followed with six more runs before the second inning came to a close, setting the tone for the Mariners' 10-4 loss in the series opener at Safeco Field.

For Noesi, it was a chance to show he had improved while with Triple-A Tacoma for two months after a demotion followed his dismal start to the season. The right-hander, who came over to the Mariners along with Jesus Montero from the Yankees for Michael Pineda in the offseason, was the first Major League pitcher to 10 losses. With a 2-11 record and 5.77 ERA, Noesi was sent down after a poor outing on July 4.

Despite some struggles in Triple-A, Noesi did show improvement in a pair of two-inning relief appearances for Seattle after he was recalled in early September. On Monday, none of that showed in a brief 1 1/3 innings.

"We sent him down for a reason, and we were hoping to see something better than that, but when you make mistakes up here and don't execute pitches, you're going to get knocked around," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "That's what happened."

Noesi gave a glimmer of hope after the McLouth blast snuck over the fence in right by recording two quick outs, but then the inning went south.

After a walk, Noesi gave up three consecutive singles, two of which pushed runs across the plate. By the time the Mariners had their first at-bat, they trailed, 3-0.

The second inning didn't come with any improvement. If anything, the night got worse for Noesi.

A walk, single and double scored a run for the Orioles before Noesi finally induced Chris Davis into a groundout. That would be the last batter Noesi would retire, though, as two more hits and an error by shortstop Brendan Ryan chased Noesi to a smattering of boos from the otherwise quiet 13,036.

"I think I was trying to do too much," he said. "I just started missing my pitch up.

"I think I was just thinking too much."

Noesi left after 54 pitches, allowing seven runs on eight hits and two walks. It was the sixth time he'd allowed six or more runs in 18 starts this year. Noesi's last win came on May 6, a span of 12 starts.

"He just really struggled," Wedge said. "When he did get ahead, he gave up two-strike hits. Looked like he was just in the middle of the plate, they squared him up. Hector's just has to be better than that. Just wasn't a good day at all for him."

Noesi was scheduled to make his second start of the month on Sunday, but Wedge said he will discuss with pitching coach Carl Willis the possibility of taking him out of the rotation.

The Mariners didn't have much offense to match the Orioles, who put three more on the board against Seattle's bullpen. Michael Saunders' homer in the second was the lone run off Baltimore starter Chris Tillman in six innings.

The former Mariners prospect, who was part of the trade that brought Erik Bedard to Seattle, allowed just three hits while striking out four. He is 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA and 21 strikeouts in his career against the Mariners.

"No, Tilly is about the competition and whoever's wearing a uniform different than ours," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter on whether his starter had any measure of revenge. "If anything, I've heard him talk about what a great experience he had with the Mariners and he was very appreciative of the opportunity they gave him."

The Mariners got to the Baltimore bullpen a bit, as Eric Thames deposited his eighth home run of the year into the right-field seats to lead off the eighth.

John Jaso added a two-run shot in the ninth to give the Mariners 11 home runs in their past eight games. The team has homered in eight straight contests.

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