Jared Weaver is one of the top pitchers in the American League, but he’s just a guy to the Mariners.
For the second time in three weeks, the Mariners topped the Anaheim Angels’ ace, this time 2-1 Sunday on solo home runs by Jesus Montero and Carlos Peguero. The star, however, was starter Hisashi Iwakuma, who did what Felix Hernandez could not do Saturday — shut down the potent Angels’ lineup.
Iwakuma delivered seven shutout innings, giving up five hits, striking out seven and walking none. Reliever Josh Kinney got out of trouble in the eighth. Tom Wilhelmsen gave up a run in the ninth on Howard Kendrick’s RBI single, but induced a fly ball from Erick Aybar for the final out of the ninth for his 23rd save.
The loss broke the Angels’ five-game winning streak and was only the third defeat in the last dozen games. It was also the Angels’ first loss in seven games at Safeco Field this season, after wins Friday 9-1 and 5-2 Saturday, and prevented the sweep.
After the Mariners’ season high eight-game winning streak ended Aug. 22, the club lost six of nine entering Sunday’s game against Weaver, who had a 16-3 record, a 2.85 ERA an American League-leading 0.98 WHIP.
Montero, who had two homers off Weaver in the 4-1 win Aug. 12, rocked him again in the fourth, a 448-foot shot to right center, his 15th of the season. Montero is 5-for-8 against Weaver with four home runs.
An inning later, Puguero delivered to right field, his second of the season. Another hit in the inning may have been crucial in getting the best of Weaver. Dustin Ackley was safe at first after his liner ricocheted off the upper right arm of Weaver, who fielded the ball but couldn’t make the play at first in time. Weaver wasn’t injured enough to come out, but eventually left in the sixth inning after 86 pitches, having given up eight hits and four walks.
On the other hand, Iwakuma was flat-out dominant.
“Arguably, it might be the best stuff we’ve seen him have, when you talk about that lineup and how aggressive he was with his pitches,” said manager Eric Wedge. “He attacked the zone early and took control of the game from the first pitch today. He had a live fastball and was pretty efficient against a great hitting ballclub.”
The Mariners had a chance for a run in the second when Montero, who singled, attempted to score on a single by Peguero, but right fielder Torii Hunter’s throw was on the mark at the plate. Montero’s slide took him to the right of the plate, where his hand failed to touch, something that didn’t please Wedge.
“I’d rather Jesus go straight in instead of sliding by,” he said. “If he goes straight in, he may have made it. There’s no reason for him to go around. He’s a big man.”