After a shaky start, Felix Hernandez retired the final 14 batters and Kendrys Morales delivered the key blow, a pinch-hit single in the seventh, as the Mariners slipped past the Anaheim Angels 3-2 Saturday night at Safeco Field. Hernandez gave up one earned run on five hits with seven strikeouts and improved his record to 3-2 by beating the Angels, against whom he was 6-12, for the first time since Sept. 6, 2011.
In front of another big giveaway-night crowd of 31,901 for Dustin Ackley bat night, the Mariners completed a rally from a 2-0 deficit when Kyle Seager, who extended his hitting streak to 16 games, singled to open the seventh. After Michael Morse did same, lefty reliever Michael Roth took over for starter Joe Blanton (three runs, nine hits, four walks). After one out, ex-Angel Morales, hitting for Raul Ibanez, singled to left to score Seager.
It was the Mariners’ first hit with a runner in scoring position in 14 innings. The Mariners are 2-for-25 in the past two games.
In the third inning, LA’s Chris Iannetta opened the scoring with a first-pitch home run off a Hernandez curveball. The Angels scored a second run after Peter Bourjos singled, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Jesus Montero, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Trout.
Montero made up for the error in the sixth. After Raul Ibanez walked, Montero stroked a 401-foot home run into the left field bullpen to tie the game.
“I like that our guys are putting things together,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We don’t hope or want — we know it’s going to happen. Just keep pecking away.
“Felix used all of his pitches, stayed within his motion, pitched well when he was behind and well when he was ahead.”
Hernandez and Montero combined on the defensive play of the game in the fourth inning when they thwarted a suicide squeeze play. Hernandez fielded a bunt and flipped the ball from his glove to Montero, who partially blocked the plate and slapped the tag on a sliding Mark Trumbo.
Tom Wilhelmsen came on in the ninth, allowed a single by Josh Hamilton, but came up with his seventh save.