Los Angeles (73-62) looked flat in Monday’s series opener at Safeco Field, losing 5-3, but came out strong the following night, jumping out to a 12-2 lead after five innings en route to a 13-6 win. Rookie Mike Trout(notes) led the offense, homering twice and driving in five runs for the Angels, who remained 3 1/2 games back of West-leading Texas.
Mike Scioscia altered his starting rotation for this past weekend’s series with the Rangers, sending his top three pitchers to the mound, but it was to no avail. Los Angeles dropped two of three and Haren (13-7, 3.19 ERA) did a poor job of setting the tone in Friday’s opener.
The three-time All-Star was tagged for seven runs and a season-high 11 hits and needed 106 pitches to go 4 1-3 innings in an 11-7 loss, his first defeat in eight starts. It was the second time since the All-Star break that the Rangers scored seven runs in 4 1-3 innings off Haren.
Excluding his two starts against Texas, Haren is 6-1 with a 2.23 ERA in his last 10 outings. The right-hander faced Seattle once in that span, coming within one out of a complete game in a 4-2 win July 10.
Haren is 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA in three starts against the Mariners this season, and has a 1.47 ERA in five outings against them since the start of last year.
Hernandez (12-11, 3.37) hasn’t had nearly as much luck against Los Angeles, but it isn’t entirely his fault.
Since last defeating the Angels on Sept. 2, 2009, Hernandez is 0-4 in eight starts against Scioscia’s club - with the Mariners losing seven times. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner has recorded a 3.29 ERA in those games, but has been backed by 1.15 runs per nine innings.
He has received three total runs of support in his two starts against Los Angeles this year, leaving him with an 0-1 record despite a 2.40 ERA.
Hernandez finally received some rare offensive support last Wednesday, when he held Cleveland to two runs and seven hits while striking out 10 in six innings of a 9-2 victory. The right-hander had received two runs of support or fewer in seven of his previous 10 starts.
The Mariners (57-77), last in the AL with 468 runs, a .235 batting average and a .645 OPS, have had some offensive success in the first two games of this series. Mike Carp(notes) has a homer, two doubles and three RBIs, while fellow rookie Dustin Ackley(notes) is 5 for 7 with a triple, a double and two RBIs.
The Angels have also received some huge contributions from their top prospect.
Trout, the youngest player in the majors at 20 years, 24 days, has been locked in at the plate since being recalled from Double-A Arkansas on Aug. 19, batting .409 with four homers in 22 at-bats. He made his big-league debut July 8 but hit just .163 with one home run in 14 games before being demoted.
“The first time I got up here I wanted to hit it hard every time to impress everyone,” Trout said. “Now I’m just trying to be myself and not trying to do too much.”