Batista helps Mariners again delay Angels’ celebration, 3-2
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Another day, another delay for the Los Angeles Angels.
After rain held up the start of Saturday’s game, Seattle again kept the Angels’ champagne on ice. Miguel Batista pitched into the sixth inning and Ichiro Suzuki scored a run and drove in another in the Mariners’ 3-2 victory.
“You don’t ever want to see a team clinch when you’re playing them,” said Seattle closer J.J. Putz, who got the final three outs in what turned into a tense finish. “Our attitude is that we’re not really out of anything yet, mathematically.
“So we just have to keep winning. There have probably been stranger things that have happened, so you never know.”
The Mariners’ second win in a row over Los Angeles seems only to delay the inevitable. The Angels’ magic number has been stuck on one since they beat second-place Seattle—which realistically is out of contention in the wild card race—in the opener of their four-game series.
That clinched at least a tie for the AL West title.
“We came in here fighting for respect, or course,” Seattle manager John McLaren said. “We feel like we can play with them, we’ve just had some tough games against them. They came into our ballpark (an Angels sweep at the end of August) and it left a bad taste in our mouths.
“So we wanted to come into their ballpark and feel good about ourselves. They’re the best team in our division, so we have to prove to ourselves that we can beat the Angels.”
Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said he’s not thinking so much about winning the division as he is winning, period.
“We know we need one more to reach our first goal,” he said. “But we want to play good baseball. You want to build momentum.”
Batista (15-11) allowed only one run despite giving up six hits and five walks in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out four.
There was a silver lining in the loss for the Angels. Oft-injured Bartolo Colon pitched eight solid innings in his best outing since early in the season. Colon (6-8) gave up three runs and eight hits in eight innings but still lost the eighth time in nine decisions.
He had missed a scheduled start last Wednesday because of back stiffness, and got this start because Kelvim Escobar was pushed back because of inflammation in his shoulder.
Although he got little offensive support, Colon was pleased with his performance.
“That feels special, especially with what’s on the line now,” he said through a translator. “This was a very important outing for me. I knew what I needed to take care of, and that’s what I did.”
Colon, whose contract expires at the end of the season, isn’t even assured of making the playoff roster.
“That’s up to Mike (Scioscia) and the Angels, where I fit in,” he said.
The Angels’ manager was impressed by Colon’s outing, noting that he kept his pitches low, changed speeds well and was “pitch-efficient.”
He threw just 90 pitches, 67 of them strikes.
The start of the game was delayed 50 minutes as the ground crew prepared the infield after it was soaked during a downpour that swept in and out rapidly about 30 minutes before the scheduled start.
The Angels closed within a run in the ninth, when pinch-hitter Reggie Willits singled and went to third one out later on Orlando Cabrera’s single. Vladimir Guerrero followed with an RBI groundout to short, but Putz struck out Garret Anderson with Cabrera at second to earn his 39th save in 41 chances.
After the Angels pulled within 3-1 on Maicer Izturis’ RBI single in the sixth, Sean Green took over for Batista. Howie Kendrick grounded to third, and Willie Bloomquist threw home to cut down lead runner Casey Kotchman. Eric O’Flaherty replaced Green and ended the inning on pinch-hitter Kendry Morales’ foul popup.
The Mariners grabbed a 2-0 lead in the fourth on Adrian Beltre’s RBI single and Ben Broussard’s run-scoring double. They added another run in the fifth when Suzuki, who had doubled and scored on Beltre’s hit, singled home Jose Lopez.
Batista won for the second time in seven starts and second start in a row. He shut out Oakland for 6 1-3 innings in a 4-0 win on Monday. … The Angels have not been rained out at home in more than 12 years. They’ve had home rainouts only 15 times since the franchise began in 1961 and 10 times since they moved from Los Angeles to Anaheim in 1966. The last time was on June 16, 1995.