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Angels find alternate power sources in win

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- The Los Angeles Angels found some offense Friday night, even as their three biggest stars continued to take baby steps.

Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols each collected a hit for the second night in a row, but it was the power of Hank Conger and Mark Trumbo that got the Angels back on the winning track.

Conger and Trumbo each hit two-run homers to give Los Angeles a big early lead and the Angels held on to beat the Seattle Mariners 6-3 and snap a two-game losing streak.

After jumping out to a 5-0 lead, the Angels (9-13) worked themselves into jams all night but escaped while stranding 13 Seattle runners on base and throwing out a 14th at home plate.

Seattle (9-16) went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position, with the lone hit resulting in base-runner Justin Smoak getting thrown out at home plate to kill a seventh-inning rally.

Smoak's forgettable night included two bases-loaded strikeouts and an inning-ending putout at the plate.

"We missed some opportunities, of course, with runners in scoring position," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said, "but we created a lot of opportunities. If our team continues to fight like that, we're going to win a lot of games."

Los Angeles starter C.J. Wilson struck out nine batters, including inning-ending strikeouts with the bases loaded in both the fourth and fifth to protect a 5-1 Angels lead. Wilson allowed seven hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings but needed 110 pitches to get there.

His most important statistic may have been the six base runners left stranded in the fourth and fifth -- during which he had five strikeouts.

"C.J. was at times electric, and at times it was rough," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. " ... Some things started to get away from him, and he had to make some pitches to minimize some damage."

Wilson's luck ran out in the sixth when he allowed the first two batters to reach base for the third inning in a row but couldn't work his way out of it. Two sacrifices -- an Endy Chavez fly ball and a Brendan Ryan bunt -- drove in runs as the Mariners cut the lead to 5-3.

Wilson didn't make it out of the sixth, eventually giving way to four Anaheim relievers.

"I was really happy to not cave in when the bases were loaded a couple of times," Wilson said. "I had good enough stuff but not a very sexy linescore. When you give up three runs in 5 1/3 innings, that's not a great night. My job is to go seven, eight innings, and I haven't done that so far -- that's really the most frustrating part of the season for me."

The Mariners had multiple chances to even the score after spotting Los Angeles the early five-run lead, but Seattle continued to swing its way out of innings. In addition to the 13 runners left on base, there was a crucial home-plate play that ended a rally in the seventh.

After a pair of two-out singles put runners on first and second, pinch-hitter Dustin Ackley hit a ground single into shallow right field. Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick dived for the ball before it got to the right fielder, then the turned and threw out Smoak at the plate as the Mariners' base runner tried to score from second base.

Ernesto Frieri pitched a scoreless ninth to give the Angels just their third save of the season.

The Angels' underachieving trio of Trout, Pujols and Hamilton was relatively quiet again, combining to go 3 for 10 with two RBI and a run scored. Pujols had a single and drove in two runs on sacrifice flies, but he struck out in his final at-bat before getting into a brief argument with home plate umpire Scott Barry.

Trout also had a rough ninth, with a strikeout and an error on an easy pop fly to lead off the bottom of the inning. The ball off the bat of Seattle's Kendrys Morales bounced off Trout's mitt, allowing the leadoff runner to reach second base before Frieri closed out the game by stranding two Mariners runners on the bases.

Still trying to prove himself as the newest member of the starting rotation, the Mariners' Aaron Harang had another rough outing in his third start of the season.

After allowing singles to Peter Bourjos and Trout to open the game, Harang got out of the first having given up just one run. Things got worse when Conger took Harang deep on a 2-and-0 pitch in the second, resulting in a two-run homer and Conger's first home run since 2011. The two-run shot gave Los Angeles a 3-0 lead.

The Angels' Trumbo added a two-run homer of his own in the third, and Harang didn't make it past the third. In three innings of work, Harang allowed five runs and six hits -- two of them were homers -- before giving way to the Seattle bullpen.

Harang has an ERA of 11.37 this season.

"I'm not concerned," Wedge said. "Obviously, he needs to do a better job with his fastball. He didn't have the same fastball (Friday night) and he didn't have the same command, so we needed to get him out of there early."

NOTES: Scioscia said before Friday's game that shortstop Erick Aybar "felt great" after a second consecutive extended spring training game as a designated hitter. Aybar, who was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 10 because of a heel injury, is expected to see time in the field during a Saturday game in Arizona, Scioscia said. ... Pujols (plantar fasciitis) was at first base for the second game in a row. He'd gone 10 days without playing the field to give the foot a chance to heal. ... Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders (shoulder) could be back in the lineup as soon as Monday, Wedge said. ... The Mariners announced that top pitching prospect Danny Hultzen, who is currently at triple-A Tacoma, will be shut down for at least two weeks because of a strained rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder. The 23-year-old left-hander was the second overall pick in the 2011 draft. ... Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager had a fourth-inning single to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.
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