Saunders' three-run shot in the fifth inning expanded a 3-2 lead by Seattle to a commanding, 6-2 edge. In the ninth, Saunders connected again, with one aboard, completing the scoring for the Mariners.
The win didn't help the Mariners as much as it hurt the O's, who fell 5 1/2 behind the Red Sox in the AL East race. Seattle trails Oakland in the West by 13 games and are eight games under .500 (51-59) with less than two months left in the season.
The M's and O's meet Sunday afternoon at 1:35 pm EDT at Camden Yards to settle the series.
Pittsburgh topped Colorado, 5-2, while the Cardinals fell victim to the Reds, by an 8-3 score, as Francisco Liriano improved to 12-4 with seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball.
Jose Tabata contributed a solo home run and a triple as part of a 3-for-4 effort, driving in a run and scoring twice as the Pirates evened their series with the visiting Rockies.
Liriano, who walked five and fanned six, is having a magical run through the summer, notching victories in seven of his last eight starts. His 12 wins are tied for third in the NL and his 2.02 ERA is among the best in the league, though with just 102 innings pitched, he doesn't qualify for league stats.
Nonetheless, Liriano is one of the main reasons the Pirates are where they are. They hope the lefty hurler remains healthy to lead them in the post-season.
Today's Trivia: True or False: There are more than 250 players with career batting averages over .300 in MLB history. (answer tomorrow)
Yesterday's Answer: Nolan Ryan set the low mark of 5.261 hits per nine innings in 1972 with the California Angels.