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Mariners edge whiff-prone Angels

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Felix Hernandez set the tone, and the Seattle Mariners bullpen did the rest.

Seattle pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts Sunday in the Mariners' 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium.

Hernandez, making his first start since Sept. 2 after sitting out because of an oblique strain, struck out 10 in his four-inning outing. He became the first player in major league history to record that many strikeouts in a start that lasted just four innings.

"He had good stuff," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It was probably a little better than we'd seen from him earlier this year, so the layoff might have refreshed him a little bit.

"But I thought we did a good job of making him work. He went four innings and had 92 pitches, so we did a decent job in the box against him. But he's tough. He walked four, but when push came to shove, he struck out 10 out of the 12 outs he got."

Oliver Perez (3-3) struck out the side in the fifth inning, and Carter Capps rang up two more K's in the sixth. Three other Seattle relievers closed out the win, with Danny Farquhar pitching a scoreless ninth inning for his 15th save.

"With Felix only going four innings, we had to rely on our bullpen," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "I thought Perez set the tone going out there in the fifth and running through those guys. We had to use a lot of guys, most of which are tired and at the end of their rope."

Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson (17-7) saw his streak of nine consecutive victories end thanks to one swing of the bat. Justin Smoak hit a two-run home run with two outs in the sixth inning, providing the Mariners with a 3-1 lead. His 17th home run of the season came on a 1-2 count and landed a few feet inside of the left field foul pole.

The homer came with Smoak batting right-handed, something he has struggled with all season.

"I finally had decent at-bats right-handed," he said. "I just missed a pitch in my first at-bat, and it was good to get us on the board there.

"(Wilson) has got good stuff. He pitched a good ballgame for them. What did he go, almost nine innings? He might have thrown a lot of pitches, but we were able to get a few on him and keep them to only two."

Wilson lasted 8 1/3 innings, throwing 123 pitches. He allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out nine.

"We struck out 15 times, which is obviously on the high side," Scioscia said. "We hit a couple of balls hard with guys in scoring position, but we couldn't get that clutch hit to give C.J. a little breathing room and for us to get a lead. C.J. didn't make many mistakes, but one slider he didn't get under Smoak's swing, and (Smoak) hit it for a home run."

The Angels crept closer on Kole Calhoun's solo home run leading off the eighth inning. The blast came one inning after the Angels loaded the bases and failed to score.

Seattle ended a three-game losing streak, but it was just the Mariners' third win in their past 13 games.

The game was delayed for 23 minutes in the third inning because of a swarm of bees between right and center field. Players were taken off the field while stadium personnel did their best to remove the insects. The bees came back the following inning, but rather than swarming, they found a landing spot on the grass. A carbon dioxide fire extinguisher was used to remove them.

"Man, it was crazy," said Calhoun, the Los Angeles right fielder. "I saw them right before they called time. (The umpires) were pushing everybody back and moving everybody away, and I thought: 'Hey, it's got to be bees or something.' Then everybody confirmed that it was bees. I thought they had gotten rid of all of them, and then when I got out there, all the fans were yelling: 'They're on the ground! They're on the ground!' So I'm looking around and I see them swarming and stuff, and then I see a pile of bees on the ground -- hundreds and hundreds of bees. There were bees everywhere. I had to call (umpire) Jim Joyce over there."

NOTES: Mariners manager Eric Wedge said RHP Hisashi Iwakuma would start Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals. There was talk of shutting him down due to his workload (211 2/3 innings). ... Seattle SS Brad Miller (strained hamstring) is expected to return to the starting lineup Monday. ... Angels RHP Jered Weaver (forearm) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday, with plans to start Wednesday against the Oakland A's if all goes well. ... On Saturday, OF Collin Cowgill became the first Angel player to hit a home run and steal home in the same game since Leroy Stanton did it on July 28, 1974.
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