Carp hits two-run homer, lifts Mariners to win

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SEATTLE (AP)—Mike Carp(notes) instantly knows that feeling when he makes perfect contact with a pitch.

It happened for him in the eighth inning Monday night, connecting on a first-pitch slider for a long two-run home run to give the Seattle Mariners a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

“You don’t feel it. It’s just one of those things you know right when you hit it,” Carp said, “just one of those great feelings.”

Dustin Ackley(notes), who had three hits and a pair of RBIs, opened the eighth with a double. Carp then hit the pitch from Hisanori Takahashi(notes) (3-3) into a fan’s lap in the second-deck restaurant in left field.

“After he hit it I just stopped. I’m just going to watch this ball and see where it ends up,” Ackley said. “Even in BP you don’t see many balls land up that high, especially a first-pitch breaking ball like that. That’s pretty impressive.”

The ball was estimated to have traveled 432 feet.

“That’s the longest one of the year,” Carp said. “That definitely feels better than all the other ones so far.”

Carp, a rookie who is hitting .313 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs since his second recall from Triple-A on June 7, has 22 RBIs in August. Danny Tartabull holds the club record with 25 RBIs in a month, in July 1986.

“It just means I’m playing well and doing what I should do,” he said. “I want to drive in runs and hit the ball hard. They’ve given me a chance, putting me in the cleanup spot, and I’m doing the best I can to take advantage of the opportunity.”

The loss dropped the Angels 3 1/2 games behind idle Texas in the AL West.

“This last month is really going to hinge on our ability to generate enough offense to absorb one pitch that isn’t in the right zone,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We didn’t do that tonight.”

Takahashi said his pitch to Carp was in that wrong zone.

“I wanted it down and away,” he said through an interpreter, “but it was on the opposite side.”

Tom Wilhelmsen(notes) (2-0) earned the victory with one inning of relief. Brandon League(notes) finished the ninth for his 32nd save in 37 opportunities.

Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo(notes) hit his team-leading 24th home run, a two-run shot in the fourth.

Ichiro Suzuki(notes) had two doubles and extended his hitting streak to a season-high 12 games.

Suzuki has 40 career double-digit hitting streaks, tied with Pete Rose for the fifth most since 1918. The others in front of him are Ty Cobb (65), Hank Aaron (44), Al Simmons (42) and Stan Musial (41).

“He looks like he’s a little more under control out there,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Suzuki. “It allows his hands to work better, stay through the ball a little better.”

Suzuki is hitting .370 during his streak. He started the Mariners off in the first with a second-pitch double off Joel Pineiro(notes) that bounced over the right-center wall. Franklin Gutierrez(notes) singled to left, moving Suzuki to third. Gutierrez later was caught in rundown.

Ackley, a home run shy of the cycle, sent Suzuki home with a sacrifice fly to left.

In the second, Miguel Olivo(notes) opened with a double down the left-field line and eventually would score, also on a sacrifice fly to left by Kyle Seager(notes) for a 2-0 lead.

Trumbo tied it with two outs in the fourth. Torii Hunter(notes) singled just before Trumbo launched his ball off the left-field upper-deck facade, on a 1-0 pitch from Blake Beavan(notes). The Angels have had at least one home run in 19 of their last 20 games.

The Angels added another in the inning. Vernon Wells(notes) singled to center followed by Erick Aybar’s(notes) RBI double into deep right-center.

The Mariners tied it in the fifth, also with two outs. Suzuki doubled into the gap in left. Ackley drove a run-scoring triple into the gap in right for a 3-3 score.

Ackley, who made his big league debut June 16, has at least one hit in 46 of his 62 games. He’s now hitting .291.

The Angels had something going in the seventh with speedy Aybar on first and one out. With Aybar breaking for second, Peter Bourjos(notes) hit a line shot to left. Casper Wells(notes) raced in, caught on the run and quickly fired to first to double up Aybar.

Wells, who also threw Bourjos out at second base in the third when he tried to stretch a single, said, “that’s my favorite thing to do, come up throwing.”

Trumbo doubled with two outs in the ninth but League induced Wells to ground out to short.

NOTES: The Angels are concerned about their bullpen depth down the stretch. “We’re not immune to that,” Scioscia said. “The way our starters (Jered) Weaver, (Dan) Haren and (Ervin) Santana have pitched, they have absorbed a lot of that bullpen non-depth.” He said Thursday when rosters can be expanded “we’re going to add pitching depth and bench depth.” … Mariners 1B Justin Smoak(notes), on the DL (broken nose) since Aug. 13, has been sent out on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Tacoma. He was expected to play first base Monday for six innings then DH Tuesday. … Wedge called a 15-minute team meeting before the game. “I just reinforced what we’re playing for here,” he said. … Rookie LH Anthony Vasquez(notes) (1-0, 8.44) will start Tuesday against the Angels. It will be just the second big league start for Vasquez, who was called up from Triple-A on Aug. 23. The Angels’ starter, RH Jerome Williams(notes) (1-0, 4.82), is almost as raw. He was called up Aug. 17 and this will be his second start, his fourth appearance.

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