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Williams, Angels keep Mariners in tailspin

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Seattle Mariners continued their late-season tailspin on Saturday night at Angel Stadium, courtesy of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jerome Williams.

Williams gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings as the Angels beat the Mariners 6-5.

The victory put the Angels within two games of .500 for the season. The last time they were two games below .500 was July 10.

"There's been some nonperformance on our club, some injuries and some depth issues," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But I think we've gone a long way in the past month to show the kind of baseball we can play, particularly on the pitching side. Hopefully we'll temper that frustration and finish strong."

Williams picked up the victory, his fourth in a row, boosting his record to 9-10.

"It's been important for me from day one to pitch well," Williams said. "I always want to go out there and do my best. I've had a couple of rough stretches, and now I just want to finish strong and end this season on a good note."

Seattle has now lost 11 of its last 13 games and 21 of 29. The lone bright spot to come out of the loss for the Mariners was Raul Ibanez's 300th career home run. He hit it in the ninth inning on an 0-1 pitch from Angels closer Ernesto Frieri. It landed about six rows deep in the right-field bleachers.

Ibanez also tied Hall of Famer Ted Williams for the most home runs in a season (29) by a player older than 40. Williams did it in 1960.

"Winning the game is the most important thing, so I'm disappointed about that," Ibanez said. "Ted Williams is the greatest hitter that ever lived. I'm not. To have this one thing, and let's make no mistake about it, it's just this one thing that I have in common with him, it's a great blessing.

"To be in that type of company means I'm old, I guess. I think it's about your work ethic during the offseason and your will to succeed."

The Mariners' 3-2 extra-innings loss on Friday was partly due to the fact that they left 10 runners on base. Saturday's setback wasn't much different. The Mariners stranded 10 runners through seven innings, and half of those were left in scoring position. That number would have been higher if Abraham Almonte had not induced a balk out of reliever Cory Rasmus while at third base in the seventh inning.

Seattle has gone 4 for 24 with runners in scoring position over the first two games of the series.

The Angels seemed to have everything going right. The exclamation point in the victory -- their ninth in 11 games -- came in the seventh when manager Mike Scioscia called for a suicide squeeze with Colin Cowgill at third base. Mariners pitcher Joe Saunders unleashed a wild pitch and Cowgill was credited with a steal of home, giving the Angels a 6-2 lead.

"I knew it was coming," Saunders said. "It was just a matter of when in the count. I had a changeup grip and tried to throw it high so he (Andrew Romine) couldn't bunt it, and it just kind of sailed on me a little too far outside. That ended up being huge."

The Angels were in control by that point thanks to a four-run second inning. Grant Green hit a three-run double, then scored on Romine's single to help give the Angels a 5-1 lead.

Mark Trumbo walked and moved to second on a single by Chris Iannetta. Cowgill walked to load the bases, and Green delivered with a sharp grounder over the third base line and into left field. Cowgill added a solo home run in the fourth.

"It was a battle," said Saunders, who suffered his 16th loss of the season and is one shy of his career high. "I was making good pitches all night. I don't even know if it was a mistake to Green. It was a 3-2 count and I was trying to throw strikes. He hit it in a perfect spot. I tried to minimize the damage after that and keep us in the game as long as I could."

Mark Trumbo walked and moved to second on a single by Chris Iannetta. Cowgill walked to load the bases, and Green delivered with a sharp grounder over the third base line and into left field. Cowgill added a solo home run in the fourth.

The Mariners got a run back in the third on Kyle Seager's groundout with the bases loaded. Williams induced Kendrys Morales into hitting a ground ball for the final out, leaving runners at second and third.

NOTES: Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson was honored before the game as the winner of the Nick Adenhart Award. ... Pitcher Jeff Weaver is continuing to nurse his stiff right forearm but remains on schedule to pitch Wednesday against Oakland. ... Mariners RHP Erasmo Ramirez, who left Friday's game with a tight right groin, was feeling better and did not require any treatment. ... Saunders took a 1-2 career record against the Angels, his former team, into the game.
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