SEATTLE (AP)—In the back corner of the visiting clubhouse, Vernon Wells(notes) sat with his video player for much of Monday afternoon watching video of not what he’s been doing wrong with the Los Angeles Angels this season, but what he did right last year in Toronto.
It’s all felt a little off lately for Wells, mired in the worst start of his career.
“When you’re getting pitches middle-in and they are jamming you or getting hanging breaking balls and missing them then something is wrong in there,” Wells said. “I just sat in the corner over here and just watched video over and over again and find something that was different.”
Wells made a slight tweak during batting practice, then found the stroke the Angels hope quickly comes around more often.
Wells hit the Angels’ first homer in a week with a solo shot in the third inning, then hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh to give Los Angeles a 6-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.
The slumping Angels, having dropped seven of eight, started their longest road trip of the season with a comeback victory capped by Wells’ power surge and the 22nd multihomer game of his career. Before Wells’ solo homer in the third, the Angels had gone 62 innings without a long ball and hit only one the entire month of June.
“He’s not going to go out and hit two home runs every game, but coupled with a good game a few night ago and hitting the ball well yesterday, hopefully he’s found his rhythm,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He had some big hits tonight obviously, and hopefully he can start squaring some balls up.”
Wells began the night hitting just .189, a miserable start to his Angels’ career only accentuated by a month on the disabled list with a groin strain.
What Wells saw when he watched video was that he stood more upright at the plate a year ago with Toronto when he hit .273 with 31 homers and 83 RBIs. He made an adjustment during batting practice then carried it into the game.
No swing was bigger than his two-run shot in the seventh that gave the Angels’ a 5-3 lead. Los Angeles tied it earlier in the inning when Jeff Mathis’(notes) slide knocked the ball free from Seattle catcher Miguel Olivo(notes) to tie the game at 3.
“Then sometimes you have a game like this and you go 0 for 30,” Wells continued. “It’s a matter of when you get pitches to hit not missing them, when you’re struggling you’re getting pitches to hit but you’re fouling them off or popping them straight up.”
The Angels late rally started when Mathis doubled into the left field corner leading off the seventh, barely beating the throw to second by Carlos Peguero(notes). He moved to third on Maicer Izturis’(notes) groundout to first, but looked as if he was going to be cut down at the plate. Mathis broke for home on Torii Hunter’s(notes) grounder to Chone Figgins(notes) at third base, who immediately threw to the plate. The throw easily beat Mathis, but his hard slide into Olivo knocked the ball free and tied the game at 3.
Haren (6-4) allowed two earned runs in his previous 24 innings against the Mariners, only to give up his third on Monday night in the fifth inning when Brendan Ryan’s(notes) sacrifice fly scored Figgins with the go-ahead run.
Haren allowed seven hits in his six innings, but didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven.
“Dan survived. He had to throw a lot of pitches to get to that point in the game,” Scioscia said. “Early on he really didn’t have his split working and made some mistakes with it. … As the game wore on he got better, but 112 pitches through six innings is a lot for Dan and they made him earn every out.”
Rich Thompson(notes) mowed through the Mariners in the seventh. Scott Downs(notes) got out of the eighth with a strikeout of Olivo despite Seattle putting two runners on. Jordan Walden(notes) then pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 18 chances.
NOTES: Retired Mariners CF Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) was part of Monday’s television broadcast, his first visit back to Safeco Field since his abrupt retirement last June. … The Angels placed RHP Fernando Rodney(notes) on the 15-day disabled list Monday (back strain) and recalled RHP Bobby Cassevah(notes) from Triple-A Salt Lake. … Seattle moved RHP David Aardsma(notes) to the 60-day disabled list and activated LHP Mauricio Robles(notes) from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Single-A High Desert.
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