Angels 8, Mariners 6
Vladimir Guerrero hit a go-ahead, three-run shot off Felix Hernandez, Gary Matthews Jr. and Casey Kotchman hit consecutive home runs in the first, and the Angels bullpen preserved an 8-6 win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
“It’s good, because there are going to be sometimes when we’re not going to do well offensively and our pitchers pick us up and keep us in close ballgames,” Guerrero said through a translator. “We have a good pitching staff, and hopefully all of us can contribute to them.”
Guerrero’s homer was his first since May 17 at Seattle. It hasn’t been easy getting good pitches to hit, because everyone is pitching around the 2004 AL MVP. Guerrero’s greatest strength is he is one of the game’s best bad-ball hitters.
“I can’t get frustrated because it’s part of the game. I’ve been saying that for a long time,” Guerrero said. “I don’t get frustrated because I trust the people that hit behind me. The home runs just happen when they happen. I don’t worry about when they come or when they don’t come. But I’m very happy that this one came tonight.”
Dustin Moseley (4-0) got the win in relief of Weaver, who was pulled after 4 2-3 innings with the Angels down 5-4.
After Guerrero’s homer put Los Angeles ahead 7-5, Moseley pitched two innings and gave up an RBI double to Raul Ibanez that cut the Angels’ edge to 7-6 in the sixth. But Scot Shields pitched a perfect eighth and Francisco Rodriguez worked the ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances.
Hernandez (3-3) allowed seven runs and nine hits in seven innings. He surrendered his first three homers of the season, as the Angels took the rubber game of the series and extended their lead in the AL West to 5 1/2 games over the second-place Mariners.
“We were a little disappointed because we felt we had a chance to win the game with our ace on the mound,” Adrian Beltre said. “It didn’t happen, but we’re going to get a chance to face these guys again, and hopefully we can do better next time. We’ve got four months left, so one series is not going to make a difference right now.”
Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 23 games—tying his career best in 2001. The two-time AL batting champion is within one game of the franchise record set by Joey Cora in 1997.
Weaver had won his previous three starts, and the Angels gave him a 4-1 lead in the first inning. But the Mariners made it 4-all on Beltre’s RBI double in the fifth and Yuniesky Betancourt followed with an RBI single that finished the right-hander.
“My command just really wasn’t there,” Weaver said. “The off-speed stuff felt great, but I was struggling with my fastball command. I just couldn’t make my pitches and they put some good swings on the ball.”
Pinch-hitter Robb Quinlan drove in an insurance run in the Angels seventh with a sacrifice fly that Betancourt caught. The shortstop made an over-the-shoulder catch in short left-center field and couldn’t get the ball home fast enough after Reggie Willits tagged up.
Guerrero had a chance to break open the game in the eighth, but struck out with the bases loaded against Brandon Morrow. The rookie reliever extended his scoreless streak to 15 2-3 consecutive innings.
The Mariners wrapped up a 6-4 road trip that began with a makeup game in Cleveland and continued through Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Anaheim. When they return to Seattle, the journey will have covered 6,273 miles.
“It’s going to be good to get back home,” Beltre said. “We finished the road trip over .500 and we could have done better, but it was a good trip.”
Angels infielder Erick Aybar started at third base for the first time in his professional career. Normally a second baseman, he made a neat play on the first batter of the game, making a diving stop on Suzuki’s grounder in the hole and throwing him out from one knee. … Angels RHP Bartolo Colon’s next scheduled start on Sunday was pushed back to June 8, when the club opens a nine-game road trip at St. Louis. The 2005 AL Cy Young winner, experiencing tightness in his triceps since early this month, has allowed 15 runs in 10 2-3 innings over his last two starts.