Los Angeles (91-62), which won back-to-back West titles in 2004 and 2005, reduced its magic number to one with a 9-5 victory on Thursday. Guerrero had an eventful night in another big game against Seattle by going 3-for-4 with his 26th homer of the year.
The All-Star slugger has tormented the Mariners (81-71) all season, hitting .516 (32-for-62) with 19 RBIs against them to help the Angels win 12 of the first 16 meetings. On Friday, he was involved in the start of a brawl after Seattle reliever Jorge Campillo threw behind his head in the sixth inning.
Campillo’s pitch resulted in shouting and shoving on the mound between the teams. Two innings earlier, Campillo had also come inside to Guerrero, who responded with a long two-run homer on the next pitch.
“If I’m going to get hit, that’s fine. You can hit me, but stay away from my head. When they do it twice, that’s too much,” Guerrero said through a translator. “And what they did to our catcher, too.”
Mike Scioscia, who notched his 700th victory since becoming the Angels’ manager in 2000, had harsh words for Campillo.
“I don’t know where that guy came off throwing at Mathis and Guerrero. If it came from the bench, it’s more disturbing,” Scioscia said. “We haven’t had any issues with any clubs, and I don’t know where that came from.
“If that guy’s not suspended for a month, something’s wrong because those two were as flagrant as they get. Our philosophy’s not to retaliate. The league’s got to take some action and I’m sure they will.”
The Angels, who have been atop the West since May 9, led the Mariners by only two games heading into a series at Safeco Field from Aug. 27-29. They swept those three games, though, part of a nine-game slide that dropped Seattle out of serious contention.
Garret Anderson went 2-for-4 on Thursday, and has also been productive this year against Seattle, batting .333 (14-for-42) with 15 RBIs in just 10 games.
Los Angeles could have leadoff hitter Chone Figgins back in the lineup Friday after missing the last two games due to a wrist problem. Figgins is just 3-for-22 against Seattle this year, but leads the majors with a .405 average since the All-Star break.
The Angels will send Joe Saunders (8-3, 3.82 ERA) to the mound. Saunders pitched well Sunday at Chicago, allowing one run and two hits over six innings, but Los Angeles blew a six-run lead in a 9-7 loss to the White Sox.
The left-hander is 0-2 with a 6.06 ERA in his last three starts at home. He defeated Seattle on April 20, though, scattering seven hits over six scoreless innings in an 8-4 victory.
Mariners center fielder Ichiro Suzuki singled in the ninth inning Thursday to extend his latest hitting streak to 13 games. He’s hitting .389 (21-for-54) in the run - his fourth this season of at least 10 games.
Seattle’s Jarrod Washburn (9-15, 4.53) faces his former team for the second time in 2007. Washburn went 3-1 with a 4.31 ERA in five starts against the Angels last year in his first season with Seattle, but lost to them on May 17 by allowing six runs over six innings of a 7-3 defeat.
The left-hander, who spent his first eight seasons with the Angels, is enduring a second straight disappointing year for the Mariners after going 8-14 with a 4.67 ERA in 2006. He fell to 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in his last five starts after allowing three runs over 4 1-3 innings in a 9-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Washburn has been outstanding the last two seasons against Figgins, who is 1-for-16 against him.