Angels 4, Mariners 3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—All David Eckstein needed was a couple of games at the bottom of the batting order to regain the stroke that made him so successful at the top of the lineup.
“It was very tough, because I’m the type of person that wants to be perfect at everything,” Eckstein said. “It was nice to be able to go out there and actually contribute and help the team win. The main thing is that we got the victory.”
Eckstein raised his average from .228 to .240 with his seventh career four-hit game and first since May 13 at New York, when his ailing father came up from Sanford, Fla., to watch him play.
Last season, when he helped lead the Angels to their first World Series title, Eckstein batted .293 with 63 RBIs and eight home runs—including a major league-leading three grand slams.
“To tell the truth, I’ve felt relaxed for the past week,” Eckstein said. “I felt my swing was coming back, and it just came through tonight. I just went up there and swung the bat like I’ve swung the bat all my life. I didn’t think about anything anybody had said.”
Eckstein doubled in a run his first time up—his first RBI by virtue of a hit in 46 at-bats since June 3, when he had a run-scoring single against Montreal’s Tomo Ohka. Eckstein capped his brilliant night with a two-run homer in the eighth against Matthew White.
“David’s a good player,” Seattle’s Bret Boone said. “He had a real nice year last year for them. He’s gone through some adversity this year, but we’ve all been through it. This game’s tough, and it’s full of humility. This game will humble you, no matter who you are. But you learn from it. He’s going to be fine.”
Shawn Wooten drove in two runs with a homer and a double and Ramon Ortiz won his fifth straight start for the Angels, who won for only the third time in 10 tries and trail the AL West-leading Mariners by 12 1/2 games.
Ortiz (9-5) allowed three runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings and combined with three relievers to end Ichiro Suzuki’s hitting streak at 19 games, four shy of his career best. Suzuki went 0-for-5, reaching on a throwing error by Eckstein during the Mariners’ two-run fifth.
Seattle’s Edgar Martinez, who leads AL designated hitters in the fan balloting for the All-Star Game, narrowed the gap to 3-2 in the fifth with a two-run single that gave him 1,151 RBIs in a Mariners uniform—one shy of the franchise record held by Ken Griffey Jr.
Wooten got one of those runs back in the bottom half with his home run just inside the left field pole, his third this season.
The Mariners closed to 4-3 in the sixth on an RBI double by Mark McLemore, his 1,500th career hit.
Ben Weber relieved Ortiz at that point and gave up a single to Dan Wilson that loaded the bases. But Suzuki grounded to shortstop, and Eckstein started an inning-ending 6-2-5-4 double play with a throw to the plate that got McLemore caught in a rundown.
Troy Percival got three outs for his 13th save in 14 chances, lowering the Anaheim bullpen’s AL-best ERA to 2.70, and his career ERA against Seattle to 1.66.
“They’ve got a great bullpen,” McLemore said. “Percival is about as automatic as you can get, Donnelly is just outstanding. Weber—all of them— come in and they know what they’re doing. It may not always work out in their favor, but they have an idea and they know how to get it done.”
Jamie Moyer (10-5) absorbed his third straight loss after winning his previous seven starts. The left-hander allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings after limiting the Angels to four hits over eight innings in a 2-0 winlast Thursday at Seattle.
Ortiz beat the Mariners for the third time in four starts against them this season. Moyer was his opponent all four times—but had never started against Ortiz prior to this season. … Suzuki was not charged with grounding into a double play in the sixth because no forceout was made. Therefore, he does not have a GIDP in 314 at-bats this season. … Moyer’s intentional walk to Bengie Molina in the third was only the ninth issued by the Mariners’ staff, the fewest in the majors. It loaded the bases for Eric Owens, who popped up to end the inning. … Garret Anderson was 3-for-4. The only time he was retired was when Suzuki leaped against the 18-foot-high wall in right field to takeaway his extra-base bid in the fifth.