The Los Angeles Angels still have work left in order to reach the postseason, but at least they’re having fun trying to get there.
Looking for a fifth consecutive victory, the Angels hope C.J. Wilson can bounce back from a rough start and help them continue their recent success versus Seattle’s Felix Hernandez on Wednesday night against the visiting Mariners.
Zack Greinke struck out 13 in five innings and Torii Hunter hit a two-run homer as Los Angeles (85-69) held on for a 5-4 win over Seattle on Tuesday. The Angels have won 23 of 32 and outscored their opponents 19-9 during a four-game winning streak that has them two games behind Oakland for the second and final wild-card spot in the AL.
Even during the heat of the wild-card race, the Angels have managed to enjoy themselves.
“It’s definitely a lot of fun,” said Hunter, who has batted .378 with four homers and 24 RBIs in his last 25 games. “The intensity level is definitely up. My adrenaline level goes to another level in games like these.”
Hunter is batting .328 (20 for 61) with two doubles against Hernandez (13-8, 2.85 ERA), who is 0-2 with a 5.75 ERA in three starts against the Angels in 2012. He’s allowed five runs in each of those outings, with the only one at Anaheim on Aug. 10 when he lasted seven innings while not factoring in the decision of a 6-5 loss.
He is 2-5 with a 3.21 ERA in 14 career starts at Los Angeles.
Hernandez had a 9.00 ERA while losing his previous three starts overall before he yielded a run and struck out eight in eight innings of a 3-1, 11-inning loss to Baltimore last Wednesday.
“Definitely better,” Hernandez told the Mariners’ official website. “It was just something mechanical. My last couple games, nothing was working and I was leaving pitches over the middle. (Against Baltimore) my fastball was working and that makes my secondary pitches better.”
The right-hander is 2-3 with a 3.98 ERA in six starts since he pitched a perfect game against Tampa Bay on Aug. 15.
Wilson (12-10, 3.82), meanwhile, allowed three runs and walked three while throwing 66 pitches in 2 2-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Texas last Wednesday.
“I wasn’t happy to get pulled out of the game, but I wasn’t doing well, either,” the left-hander said after his second-shortest outing of the season. “So it’s my own fault. We’re trying to win the game, so I understand.”
Wilson was much better in his only previous appearance this season against the Mariners, allowing a run and two hits in six innings of a 4-2 victory at Safeco Field on May 27.
One of Justin Smoak’s four hits in 14 at-bats against Wilson left the park. The Seattle slugger homered twice and drove in three runs Tuesday for the Mariners (72-82), who fanned 20 times against five Los Angeles pitchers, tying a major league record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game.
Though Seattle has lost 11 of 16, Smoak has hit .472 (17 for 36) with four homers and seven RBIs in his last 10 contests.