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Cruz does his part with 16th HR, but Mariners can't hold lead in 9-4 loss to Orioles

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BALTIMORE — Nelson Cruz forged another pleasant memory at Camden Yards, except for one important detail: his team lost.

Cruz hit a three-run homer in his first game in Baltimore since last year, but the Orioles got a homer and four RBIs from Jimmy Paredes in a 9-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.

Cruz led the majors with 40 home runs last season as a member of the Orioles. Returning for the first time since signing as a free agent with Seattle in December, Cruz hit his major-league leading 16th homer with two on in the third inning to give the Mariners a 4-1 lead.

Earlier, as he headed to the plate for his first at-bat, Cruz received a warm ovation from the crowd of 19, 494, many of whom shouted "Cruuuze!"

"It was nice, but I wish we would have played well enough to win the game," Cruz said. "It's a shame."

Paredes singled in two runs in the fourth inning and added a two-run drive off Danny Farquhar (0-2) in the sixth. Starting on a regular basis for the first time in his career, Paredes has reached base in 20 straight games and ranks second on the team with 22 RBIs.

On this night, the Orioles got the better of Seattle and Paredes outdid Cruz.

"That feels great because he's a big man right there," Paredes said. "A lot of fans root for something big from him, and we changed the game."

After being a part-timer with Houston, Kansas City and the Orioles, Paredes has finally found a home as Baltimore's designated hitter.

"It's great. It's an amazing season," said Paredes, who spent the first two weeks on the disabled list.

Cruz, meanwhile, heard cheers after his home run — even though it put the home team in a hole.

"That was nice," Cruz said. "The whole game in right field I heard good things. It makes you feel good."

But Cruz let a ball get past him in the outfield, an error that provided Baltimore an unearned run and an 8-4 lead in the seventh.

PHOTO: Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, left, walks off the field after being relieved in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 9-4. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, left, walks off the field after being relieved in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 9-4. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

"No excuses. That's a routine play," he said.

Miguel Gonzalez (5-2) allowed four runs and struck out eight over seven innings. He retired 13 of 15 batters after yielding Cruz's home run.

After Seth Smith opened the game with a home run, the Orioles got an RBI single from Steve Pearce in the bottom half after Smith robbed Adam Jones of a home run with a leaping catch at the left-field wall.

In the third, Gonzalez walked .129-hitting Chris Taylor, Robinson Cano singled and Cruz hit a hanging curve over the center-field wall.

Baltimore tied it at 4 in the fourth when Caleb Joseph hit an RBI single and Paredes delivered a two-out, two-run single.

The Orioles went ahead for the first time in the sixth. After successive doubles by Alejandro De Aza and Joseph produced a run, Paredes drove a 3-1 pitch into the left-field seats.

LEADING OFF

Mariners: Smith's homer was the second of his career to open a game. His first was on July 1, 2014, as a member of the San Diego Padres. It was the second leadoff homer of the year for Seattle (Austin Jackson, April 19 versus Texas).

Orioles: Leadoff hitter Manny Machado stole two bases for the second time this season, matching his career high. He has now stolen a career-best seven bases for the season, surpassing the six he stole in 2013. He is 7 for 8 in stolen base attempts this season.

TRAINERS ROOM

Mariners: Jackson (right ankle sprain) went 1 for 4 and played center field Tuesday for Triple-A Tacoma after playing seven innings on Monday. "We would like to see him swing the bat a little better than he has been," manager Lloyd McClendon said.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (shoulder tendinitis) will pitch batting practice for Baltimore before its game at Miami on Saturday. He's been on the DL since May 8.

ON DECK

Mariners: Roenis Elias (0-1, 3.24 ERA) will start Wednesday night. Seattle is 0-4 in his four starts even though the left-hander has not allowed more than three runs in a game.

Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen (1-2, 2.53) has one win in seven starts despite limiting the opposition to a .211 batting average.

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