Angels 4, Mariners 0

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Another poor second half is likely to leave the Seattle Mariners out of the playoffs for a second straight season.

John Lackey pitched a five-hitter and rookie Tom Gregorio had a two-run single as the Anaheim Angels beat Seattle 4-0 Wednesday, pushing the Mariners to the brink of postseason elimination.

“We didn’t play well coming down the stretch, and we didn’t play well in the second half at all,” Seattle’s John Olerud said. “We’ve lost a lot of close games and haven’t beaten a lot of teams that we felt like we should have beaten.”

Seattle’s seventh loss in 11 games meant Boston clinched no worse than a tie for the AL wild-card berth. The Red Sox wasted a chance to clinch outright when they lost 7-3 to Baltimore on Wednesday.

For the Mariners to make the playoffs, Boston would have lose its final four games, and Seattle would have to sweep a three-game series against Oakland, then beat the Red Sox in a tiebreaker playoff.

“Boston definitely played good when they needed to, and we didn’t. That’s the difference,” Seattle’s Bret Boone said. “But I don’t think we handed it to them by any means.”

The Mariners led Oakland by eight games in the AL West on June 13. By Aug. 27 the Athletics overtook them, and Oakland clinched the division when it defeated Texas and Anaheim beat Seattle in 11 innings Tuesday night.

Last season, the Mariners were up by five games in the division on July 4 before losing the lead for good on Aug. 23. The Athletics used a 20-game winning streak to win the division, and Anaheim took the wild card.

After the Mariners’ loss to the Angels dropped the Mariners to 11-11 this month, manager Bob Melvin was not available for interviews for the first time this season. It is his first year as a big league manager after replacing Lou Piniella.

Lackey (10-16) struck out four and walked two in his second career shutout and second complete game this season. He had lost his previous three starts and five of six.

Seattle’s Gil Meche (15-13) pitched because Ryan Franklin had a stiff neck Wednesday morning. Meche allowed three runs and six hits in five innings. He had pitched on Sunday, but threw only 45 pitches and gave up five runs in the second inning of a 12-0 loss to Oakland.

“When I came in yesterday, Frankie said, `You know, you might have to pitch tomorrow.’ And I’m like, `Oh, really? I’ve had one day off,”’ Meche said. “I wanted to see what I could do, not being as sharp as I probably would be if I had my normal days’ rest. I think I did a decent job today, but I just ran into a little bit of trouble in the fourth inning.”

Gregorio singled with one out in the fourth after Scott Spiezio reached on a fielder’s choice, Adam Kennedy doubled and Wilson Delgado loaded the bases with a walk. They were the first RBIs of Gregorio’s major league career.

Alfredo Amezaga followed with an RBI single. The Angels added a run in the eighth on Spiezio’s sacrifice fly.

In the fourth, Boone singled with one out and tried to score on Olerud’s double to left. Shortstop Amezaga took the relay throw from Garret Anderson and threw to Gregorio. Boone barreled over the catcher, who held on to the ball.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia was pleased by Lackey’s outing.

“John pitched a terrific game,” he said. “He was masterful with hiscontrol for most of the game.”


Scioscia said LHP Jarrod Washburn might be able to make his final scheduled start, on Sunday against Texas. Washburn left his last start after three innings of a 5-1 loss to Seattle on Monday because a sore right ankle. He hurt it in his previous start. … Seattle DH Edgar Martinez needs two RBIs toreach 100 for the seventh time in his career.

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