Balentien’s homer in 12th gives M’s 10-7 win
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Los Angeles Angels’ gigantic lead in the AL West has left them with considerable room for error. They used some of it Wednesday night, when Francisco Rodriguez blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning and wasted Mark Teixeira’s first multihomer game for them.
“He was having a rough night,” said interim manager Jim Riggleman, who is 21-27 since replacing John McLaren on June 20. “Some of those pitches he was getting himself out on. He had a strike on him in that last at-bat, but he did what he does. He got one up in there air. And when he gets it up in the air, they travel for him.”
Raul Ibanez greeted Justin Speier (1-5) with a leadoff double and advanced on Adrian Beltre’s groundout. After an intentional walk to Jose Lopez and a fly out, Balentien drove a 1-1 pitch to center field out of the reach of Torii Hunter, who leaped at the wall. It was his sixth homer of the season.
“He hit it so high that when it was coming down, it was near the backside of the fence,” Hunter said. “I gave it all I could. But we can’t dwell on this loss. You win some, you lose some—and we’ve been winning more than we’ve been losing. A loss like this can keep us humble.”
Roy Corcoran (3-0) allowed one hit over three innings to get the win and snap Seattle’s five-game losing streak. Ibanez was 4-for-5, including a solo homer in the sixth and an RBI single that capped the ninth-inning rally.
“The Angels usually find a way to win, and that’s what we need to do—not just be satisfied to play with teams of that caliber,” Ibanez said. “That’s what Riggleman’s been stressing to us every game—that we’re capable of being a really good team.”
Rodriguez, who also gave up a tying two-run double to Jeremy Reed after thinking he had Reed struck out, got a rare hook from manager Mike Scioscia after getting only one out and throwing 22 pitches.
“I don’t make those decisions. But I wasn’t getting nobody out,” Rodriguez said. “I wasn’t locating my pitches and I was falling behind every single hitter. So at that point, there’s not much I could have done because I already gave up the lead. It was a really embarrassing outing for me. I didn’t get the job done.”
Rodriguez had a few choice words for plate umpire Gerry Davis on his way to the dugout and was ejected for the first time in his seven-year career.
“I asked him a simple question: ‘Where was the pitch on the first batter?’ I didn’t like the way he responded, and I exploded,” Rodriguez said. “But no excuses. It has nothing to do with that. I still had to make quality pitches and get the other guys out, and I didn’t.”
The three-time All-Star, who was attempting to tie his own club record for saves, instead absorbed his fifth blown opportunity in 51 attempts. Four of them have come at Angel Stadium.
“Our approach against him was to try to do less—just put easy swings on him and try to get guys on base,” Ibanez said. “Reed’s game-tying hit, that was a tough pitch against the best closer in the game, and that was a huge at-bat for us.”
Teixeira, who gave the Angels a 3-1 lead in the third with a two-run homer against Felix Hernandez, hit another leading off the bottom of the ninth against closer J.J. Putz to tie it. It was Teixeira’s 21st multihomer game and third this season.
“He’s swinging the bat well, and tonight showed he’s a clutch hitter,” Hunter said. “He came through with two big home runs.”
Putz blew his third save in four attempts, and his seventh in 14 tries altogether. He was making his first appearance since Saturday, when he threw 46 pitches against Tampa Bay. It was the first day that Riggleman felt comfortable enough to bring him back into a game.
The Mariners, who came in with the second-worst record in baseball, also rallied in the seventh and eighth innings. Ichiro Suzuki got them even in the seventh with a run-scoring groundout, and Jeff Clement made it 4-all in the eighth with an RBI single against Scot Shields.
Angels starter Ervin Santana, looking for his 15th win, was charged with three runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Hernandez gave up four runs and eight hits over seven innings and struck out eight. The right-hander allowed more than three earned runs for the first time in his last 12 starts.
The Mariners have allowed at least seven runs in six of their last eight games. … Suzuki has only two RBIs in 50 at-bats against the Angels this season. The two-time AL batting champ needs 45 hits in Seattle’s final 42 games to match Wee Willie Keeler’s record of eight consecutive 200-hit seasons. … DH/INF Jose Vidro, who was designated for assignment by the Mariners on Aug. 5, was placed on irrevocable waivers on Wednesday for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. … Seattle is 29 1/2 games out of first place with 1 1/2 months of the schedule still remaining. The Mariners’ largest deficit in franchise history at the end of a season was in 1983, when they finished 39 games behind the Chicago White Sox with a 60-102 record. … Garret Anderson’s third-inning single extended his hitting streak to 18 games, the longest by the Angels this season. Suzuki’s hit streak ended at 17 games after he went 0-for-6.