Sexson’s fourth homer of the season upstaged Tim Salmon’s 1,000th career RBI with the Angels, along with an intriguing pitching matchup between Washburn and John Lackey—who dressed side-by-side for four seasons in the Angels clubhouse and won a World Series together in 2002.
Washburn was charged with four runs and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings and did not strike out a batter in his first outing at Angel Stadium as a visiting player. He beat the Angels 6-4 in his Mariners debut on April 5 at Seattle, giving up two runs and six hits over seven innings and striking out seven without allowing a walk.
“It felt a little strange, warming up in the other bullpen and coming out of the other dugout,” Washburn said. “But once you’re in the game, you’re just concentrating on getting guys out and making pitches. So at that point, it’s just another game.”
Lackey allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings, including the homers by Betancourt and Reed. Betancourt entered the game with one homer in 327 big league at-bats, Reed with four homers in 623 career at-bats—including a three-run shot Friday night against Kelvim Escobar.
“I don’t think either one of us pitched as well as we would have wanted. Both of us had our hands full a lot of the night,” Washburn said.
The left-hander, who had allowed only one home run in 35 1-3 innings over his previous five starts, served up Vladimir Guerrero’s ninth of the season leading off the second.
“I really didn’t have good zip on my fastball,” Washburn said. “I feel like I’ve got a little dead arm right now. I didn’t pitch that great, but I kept us in the game and we won. That’s all that matters.”
Washburn, who spent his first eight big league seasons with the Angels, signed a four-year, $37 million contract with the Mariners on Dec. 19 after the two-time AL West champions chose not to re-sign him.
“We talked a little bit in spring training about how it went down, and he was a little bitter. But he’s over it,” said Mariners reliever Eddie Guardado, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
George Sherrill (1-1) pitched two hitless innings for the victory and former Angels reliever Jake Woods got three outs for his first major league save, giving up a two-out double to Guerrero before getting Salmon to fly out.
Washburn retired his first two batters in the third before giving up singles to Orlando Cabrera and Anderson and a walk to Guerrero. Salmon then lined a 1-2 pitch to center field with the bases loaded for a two-run single that raised his RBI total to 1,001.
“I knew about it last night, and I figured what happened today would happen,” Washburn said. “Oh well. He had to get it off of someone, and I’m happy for him.”
Salmon joined Garret Anderson as the only players in franchise history with at least 1,000 RBIs, and became the 10th active player to drive in that many runs with one team. The 15-year veteran missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder and knee surgeries, while Anderson broke Salmon’s franchise records for RBIs, extra-base hits and total bases.
“It just shows what you can do when you play long enough and you’ve been consistent enough,” Salmon said. “My career numbers look decent, but there’s really nothing gaudy about them. I mean, it’s not like I’m going for 500 home runs or 3,000 hits.”
Juan Rivera capped the third-inning rally with a run-scoring single that gave the Angels a 4-1 lead.
Seattle rallied with two in the fourth, as Sexson scored on a wild pitch and Carl Everett came home when third baseman Chone Figgins mishandled Adrian Beltre’s grounder for an error. The Mariners tied it when Reed led off the fifth with a homer to right-center.
Salmon came within a few feet of putting the Angels back in front in the bottom half, but Raul Ibanez caught his towering drive right in front of the bullpen fence in left field with a man on.
In Washburn’s other start against the Angels, Salmon homered and doubled.
“I played behind him long enough to know that the guy’s a tough competitor and he’s got good stuff. So you’ve got to bring your `A’ game,” Salmon said. “He’s a big-game pitcher and he was a huge part of our success in that championship year.”
During their four seasons as Angels teammates, Washburn and Lackey were the pitchers of record in consecutive Angels victories 12 times, and in consecutive losses seven times. … Anderson got his 1,000th RBI for the Angels on June 26, 2005. … RHP Kevin Appier, who was in the Angels’ 2002 rotation with Washburn and Lackey, is trying to make a comeback with the Mariners’ Triple-A Tacoma farm club at age 38.