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Angels spoil Wedge's return to Mariners

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners welcomed back manager Eric Wedge on Friday night, but they couldn't reward him with a victory.

On a night when Wedge returned from a monthlong absence to recover from a July 22 stroke, the Mariners fell 2-0 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Chris Nelson provided most of the offense with a two-run homer off Seattle starter Felix Hernandez in the second inning.

"That was huge," Nelson said of scoring early against Hernandez, "because you know he's not going to give up a lot. History tells you he won't give up much."

The 2-0 lead held up because of the performance from starter Garrett Richards (4-5).

The 25-year-old Richards pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings before taking a Dustin Ackley line drive off the forearm of his pitching arm to lead off the eighth. The right-handed Richards came out after being evaluated by a team trainer, having allowed four hits while throwing 89 pitches.

"Looks like it's just a bit of a bruise," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of the injury. "We'll evaluate it and see where he is in a couple of days."

Richards got a lot of defensive help, including inning-ending double plays in the sixth and seventh, before relievers Dane De La Rosa and Ernesto Frieri finished the Angels' first shutout win since July 24.

Mike Trout made a nice catch against the wall in center field to rob Seattle's Kyle Seager of an extra-base hit in the first inning. Nelson backhanded a sharp grounder at third base and threw out the Mariners' Brad Miller in the third.

Hernandez (12-7) bounced back from a rough start in his last outing but ended up with back-to-back losses for the first time since May. He allowed three hits in six innings before coming out of the game having thrown 104 pitches. Hernandez struck out 10 of the 23 batters he faced, marking the fourth time this season he hit double digits in strikeouts.

"Just one pitch," he said. "The changeup there, (Nelson) was able to hit it, and he hit it out of the ballpark."

Hernandez was sad that the Mariners couldn't give Wedge a victory after he missed 27 games while recovering.

"A little disappointing," Hernandez said. "I was trying to win this one for him."

The Angels (56-71) snapped a four-game losing streak and are now 7-16 since Albert Pujols went on the disabled list with a season-ending foot injury.

Seattle (59-68) had a six-game winning streak under Wedge until a mild stroke sent him to a local hospital shortly before a July 22 game against Cleveland. Bench coach Robby Thompson went 12-15 as acting manager while Wedge recovered from the medical episode.

The two teams combined for just nine hits and 22 strikeouts. Los Angeles struck out 15 times but still won the game.

Miller led off the game with a single against Richards, who didn't give up another hit until Ackley's two-out single in the fifth.

It marked the first time since July 11 that Wedge was in the dugout for a loss. Seattle rattled off six consecutive wins before his stroke, and the 45-year-old manager was happy to be back in the dugout.

"I wasn't sure how my energy would be, but the energy was good," he said. "The focus was good. There just wasn't a whole hell of a lot of action."

NOTES: The Angels welcomed the return of Trout, who sat out the previous three games with a sore hamstring. Trout batted No. 3 in the Angels' order. ... The Mariners still have not confirmed reports regarding general manager Jack Zduriencik signing a one-year extension that would keep him under contract for the 2014 season. Before Friday's game, Zduriencik declined to comment on the report, citing a club policy regarding contract situations. ... Zduriencik said prospect D.J. Peterson, the team's first-round pick in the June draft, underwent successful surgery. Peterson suffered a broken jaw when he was hit by a pitch in a Midwest League game on Thursday night. Zduriencik said the surgery was the first of two Peterson will likely need. ... Before Friday's game, the Angels recalled RHP Cory Rasmus and designated RHP Billy Buckner for assignment.
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