Mariners 6, Angels 4
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Jeff Nelson had to wait four excruciatingly long days to redeem himself.
Nelson got the final three outs to preserve Freddy Garcia’s sixth straight victory as the Seattle Mariners beat the Anaheim Angels 6-4 Tuesday night. The save came four nights after Nelson gave up a game-ending grand slam by Rondell White in the ninth inning of Friday night’s 5-3 loss at San Diego.
“It’s always difficult, because you’re running through that game a million times,” said Nelson, thrust into the closer’s roll in a three-man tag-team with Arthur Rhodes and Shigetoshi Hasegawa because of an injury to Kazuhiro Sasaki.
“I take it hard every time I take a loss or give up a run. So you want to get back in there as soon as you can.”
Manager Bob Melvin was glad to see that Nelson didn’t allow that blown save against the Padres to affect him in this outing.
“The guy’s got four World Series rings and he’s been through tougher spots than that. But I know he wanted to get back out there,” Melvin said. “Stuff like that stays with you for a little while. And when you end up blowing one in such a dramatic situation, you want to get back out there again and put that to bed. And that’s what he did tonight.”
Bengie Molina, who was 3-for-4 with a home run, opened the Angels’ ninth with a double and scored on a one-out single by pinch-hitter Jeff DaVanon. But Nelson retired Darin Erstad on a flyball and struck out World Series MVP Troy Glaus with the tying run at the plate.
“Fortunately, he’s struggling a little bit right now, and I didn’t want him to snap out of it here with a two-run homer,” Nelson said. “The biggest thing was to get ahead of him.”
The AL West-leading Mariners got home runs from Mike Cameron and Bret Boone to extend their lead over third-place Anaheim to 13 1/2 games. The Angels are 7 1/2 games behind Oakland in the wild-card standings following their seventh loss in nine games. They dropped three of four last week at Seattle and are two games under .500.
“I don’t think we’re pressing. We know what we’re capable of,” said Glaus, who did not start the previous two games because of back spasms. “We just need to play that way. We’ve showed signs of it, but we haven’t been able to do it for a long stretch. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that shortly.”
Garcia (9-6) improved his career record against the Angels to 9-2, pitching 6 2-3 innings and allowing three runs on nine hits—including a solo homer by Molina.
The Mariners staked Garcia to a 6-1 lead before the Angels closed to 6-3 in the seventh with Molina’s RBI double and a run-scoring groundout by David Eckstein. Glaus came up representing the tying run, but ex-teammate Hasegawa got him to ground into an inning-ending forceout. Arthur Rhodes retired all three batters he faced before Nelson notched his sixth save.
Ichiro Suzuki had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 19 games, four shy of his career best. He led off Seattle’s four-run sixth with a double and scored on a single by Carlos Guillen. Boone connected off Aaron Sele (3-6) for his 21st home run and Randy Winn capped the rally with an RBI single against Scot Shields, giving Seattle a five-run cushion.
Adam Kennedy was thrown out at the plate by second baseman Boone on the front end of an attempted double steal to end the Angels’ fifth. Molina’s one-out homer cut Seattle’s lead to 2-1.
Sele lost his third straight start, allowing six runs and eight hits in five-plus innings—including Cameron’s 11th homer leading off the fifth.
“It’s only June,” Sele said. “We’re concentrating on what we can control. Then we can start to get on a roll and win some games. You really have to look inward before you look outward. You can’t worry about what everybody else isdoing around you until you take control of your own situation.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia shuffled his lineup in the opener of the three-game series, moving the .231-hitting Eckstein from leadoff to the ninth spot for the first time since 2001 and batting Erstad first. Eckstein was 0-for-3 and has one hit in his last 28 at-bats. … Erstad, who went 2-for-5, was the Angels’ primary leadoff hitter in 2000—when he became the first player in big league history with at least 100 RBIs in the leadoff spot and led the majors with a franchise-record 240 hits. … John Lackey, who made his major league debut a year ago Tuesday and won Game 7 of the World Series four months later, will open the Dodgers series Friday night with a .5.92 ERA and a.301 opponents batting average.