Mariners 10, Angels 9

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SEATTLE (AP)—The Los Angeles Angels are feeling the pressure of a tight pennant race.

The last-place Seattle Mariners swept the AL West-leading Angels for the second time this season, winning 10-9 Wednesday on Yuniesky Betancourt’s ninth-inning single.

“We had a chance after Chicago to have a pretty good road trip against some pretty good teams,” Los Angeles second baseman Adam Kennedy said. “At a big time of the year, we pretty much blew that here.”

The Angels arrived in Seattle with a four-game winning streak following a three-game sweep over the AL Central-leading White Sox. Los Angeles remained one game ahead of Oakland, which lost 6-4 at Cleveland.

“It’s frustrating to not be able to put a roll together,” Kennedy said, “really frustrating.”

Raul Ibanez homered and drove in four runs for the Mariners, and Richie Sexson also connected.

The Angels fought back from deficits of 6-0, 7-4 and 9-7 to tie the score in the ninth on a two-out RBI single by pinch-hitter Bengie Molina off closer Eddie Guardado (2-2).

“We can’t look at the standings,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “If we play the way we are capable of playing, we will reach our goal.”

Guardado was not surprised to see the Angels fight back all day.

“Against a good team like the Angels, you’ve got to bury them,” he said.

Jose Lopez doubled against closer Francisco Rodriguez (2-5) with one out in the bottom of the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Ramon Santiago. Rodriguez walked Greg Dobbs intentionally before Betancourt singled to left for his third hit and Garret Anderson’s throw sailed over catcher Jose Molina’s head.

“I was just trying to make contact,” said Betancourt, a 23-year-old rookie from Cuba who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on July 28. “I was not trying to think about it too much.”

Betancourt has been sensational on defense since arriving in Seattle, with one error in 35 starts at shortstop. He’s hitting .238 with four triples and nine RBIs. The big question about him is his ability to hit major league pitching.

“I definitely feel more confident about my offense now,” he said through a translator.

Seattle got an RBI double from Ichiro Suzuki and a run-scoring single from Jeremy Reed off Kelvim Escobar in the sixth to break a 7-all tie.

Anderson’s RBI single cut it to 9-8 in the eighth, but J.J. Putz got Vladimir Guerrero to ground into an inning-ending double play with runners at the corners.

Ibanez went 4-for-5 with his 19th homer and finished 9-for-14 with two homers and six RBIs in the three-game series. Sexson hit his 36th home run.

The Angels scored only two runs in losing the first two games of the series.

The Mariners finished 9-9 against Los Angeles this season. They swept a four-game series in Anaheim before the All-Star break.

Seattle jumped on Joe Saunders for two homers and a 3-0 lead in the first. Ibanez hit a two-run shot and Sexson followed with an opposite-field drive.

Reed doubled home a run and Ibanez added a two-run single in the second to make it 6-0, but Jamie Moyer couldn’t hold the lead.

Moyer, who is 9-0 at Safeco Field this season, left after five innings with the score tied at 7. His home ERA climbed from 2.76 to 3.08.

The Angels got back in the game with a four-run third. Anderson hit an RBI single, Guerrero had a sacrifice fly for his 98th RBI, and Robb Quinlan and Casey Kotchman each added a run-scoring single.

After Betancourt’s sacrifice fly in the third made it 7-4, the Angels tied the score in the fifth on Kotchman’s RBI single and Adam Kennedy’s two-run single.

The 42-year-old Moyer gave up 13 hits, with no walks and no strikeouts.

“I felt like I made some poor pitches up,” Moyer said. “But the Angels constantly put pressure on you. That’s why they are where they’re at.”

Making his second major league start, Saunders lasted two innings, allowing six runs and five hits.

“We were not very good on the mound,” said Scioscia, who used five pitchers. “That was the story.”

Notes

Guardado has four blown saves in 35 opportunities. … Scioscia said LHP Jarrod Washburn could miss more than Wednesday’s scheduled start. “He’s feeling better, but we’re going to be sure,” Scioscia said. Washburn has been bothered by tendinitis in his pitching elbow for much of 2005. He was on the DL from July 25 to Aug. 12 with inflammation in his left elbow. … Sexson’s 36 homers are the most by a Mariners hitter since 2001, when Bret Boone hit 37. … Ibanez hit .419 (31-for-74) with three homers and 17 RBIs against the Angels this season. … The Angels were swept for the fourth time this year.

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