SEATTLE (AP)—The Seattle Mariners missed a great opportunity.
They knew it, too.
Tim Salmon hit a run-scoring single and Scott Spiezio followed with an RBI double in the eighth inning to give the Anaheim Angels a 2-1 victory, denying the Mariners a chance to take over the AL wild-card lead Sunday.
“It’s tough,” said Seattle starter Ryan Franklin, who threw 7 2-3 strong innings. “That’s all I can say. It’s tough.”
“I thought maybe it was down a little bit,” Cameron said, recalling the third strike. “Then again, when it’s like 97 (mph), who knows?”
“We had a chance in the ninth, with a man on and less than two outs. We just couldn’t get him in,” manager Bob Melvin said.
The Mariners remained a half-game behind Boston for the wild card. The Red Sox lost to Chicago.
“Any loss this time of year is frustrating, especially in the position we’re in,” catcher Dan Wilson said. “We just need to keep working. We need to stay positive. Things will get better.”
Seattle trails Oakland by three games in the AL West, with the Athletics playing Sunday night at Texas.
Cameron put the Mariners ahead 1-0 with a solo home run in the second off Kevin Gregg (2-0). It appeared the lead would stand the way Franklin (9-13) was throwing, holding the Angels to three hits through seven innings.
“He pitched great. He really did,” Melvin said. “He’s done that several times, a bunch of times, this year. He pitched great today. It’s too bad we can’t score a few more runs.”
Melvin chose to play the percentages against Salmon, who was 4-for-23 against Franklin, rather than go to the bullpen.
“He’d given up the one hit to Eckstein that inning, and we weren’t going to let Anderson beat us there,” Melvin said. “He’d handled Salmon. I was going to let him handle Salmon there, and he gets the hit.”
Salmon singled, and Eckstein scored when right fielder Ichiro Suzuki’s throw to the plate was off the mark.
“With the year Garret’s had, he’s the one guy you can’t let beat you,” Salmon agreed. “The situation was right to put him on base and pitch to me. It made sense, but tonight I came out on top.”
It spoiled another strong performance by Franklin. He placed one down and away, a tough location to hit, but Salmon connected.
“It was a good pitch,” Franklin said. “He was probably looking for something down and away. I could have thrown a fastball in. It’s easy to second-guess yourself after you’ve already done it.”
“I’m not saying it was a bad pitch,” he added. “I’d throw it again.”
“It was a hard chopper,” Olerud said. “It was right down the line, and I just couldn’t get there quick enough.”
Percival worked the ninth for this 33rd save in 36 opportunities. It was his fourth save against the Mariners this season and the 20th of his career.
Gregg, a September call-up, threw seven innings, allowing one run on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
“I was pleased with my outing either way, but it kind of tops it off to score a couple of runs and pull out a victory as a team,” Gregg said.
The Mariners threatened in the eighth. Pinch-hitter John Mabry drew a one-out walk off reliever Brendan Donnelly, who then got Suzuki on a fly tocenter. After a walk to Carlos Guillen, Bret Boone grounded out.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia complained to plate umpire Tony Randazzo after Eckstein was picked off at first in the first. They talked for several minutes before Anaheim batted in the second. … The crowd of 45,861 was Seattle’s 23rd sellout of the season. … Anaheim 2B Adam Kennedy extended hishitting streak to 10 games with a single in the third.