Mike Trout ripped a first-inning, two-run homer that held up and former Mariner Jason Vargas tossed 6.1 effective innings as the LA Angels put a 5-1 spanking on Seattle Saturday night in front of 24,477 at Safeco Field. Seattle had numerous opportunities to make a game of it, but didn’t, going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranding nine.
The Mariners lost their second in a row to the AL West’s fourth-place team and fell to 59-69 overall. Seattle is 11-17 following a season-high, eight-game winning streak (July 12-23) and 7-8 against the Angels with four games remaining in the season series.
After Trout belted his two-run homer off Seattle starter and loser Erasmo Ramirez in the first, Vargas, dealt to the Angels last December for Kendrys Morales, breezed. He finally ceded a run in the seventh after the Angels had a 3-1 lead, then watched from the dugout as LA tacked on a pair in the eighth.
Vargas allowed one earned run on eight hits while fanning five and walking one. He improved to 7-5.
Ramirez, who entered with a 4-0 record despite just one quality start, settled down after Trout’s 22nd home run, but he received no run support and fell to 4-1. He worked 6.2 innings and allowed two earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
The Mariners produced nine hits, including three by Endy Chavez, who also robbed Hank Conger of a homer in the second inning, and two by leadoff hitter Brad Miller, but couldn’t bunch anything until the seventh. The Mariners have scored just one run in the first two games of the series.
“Not much to talk about offensively,” said manger Eric Wedge. “I’ve only been back a couple of days, but I haven’t been pleased with what I’ve seen offensively. We did a lot of chasing. We should be better than that by now. We’re a lot better than what we’ve seen the last couple of games. We just didn’t put a whole lot of pressure on them offensively.”
Trout, who entered the game batting .404 against the Mariners this season, hit a two-run homer off Ramirez after Erik Aybar walked in the first, giving the Angels a 2-0 lead.
The Angels picked up another run in the seventh when, following a single by Grant Green, a double by J.B. Shuck and a fielder’s choice, Chavez dropped a ball hit by Trout, allowing Shuck to score.
After Mark Trumbo singled off reliever Brandon Maurer in the eighth, Kole Calhoun hit his first triple of the year, a gapper into left center, giving the Angels a 4-1 lead. Chris Nelson followed with a base hit up the middle that scored Calhoun.
The Mariners made some noise in eighth when Humberto Quintero and Dustin Ackley opened with singles and Vargas balked both to second and third. Nick Franklin, pinch hitting for Brendan Ryan, hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Quintero. That ended a 16-inning scoreless streak by the Mariners.
Michael Kohn replaced Vargas and struck out Miller on an elevated fastball, and then Kohn hit Seager in the backside, setting up Kendrys Morales. But Morales whiffed on a pitch in the dirt.
The series concludes Sunday at 1:10 p.m. in LA’s final appearance at Safeco Field this season. RHP Aaron Harang (5-10, 5.49) will oppose RHP Jered Weaver (7-7, 3.62).
The Mariners have a three-game series with the AL West-leading Texas Rangers starting Monday night at Safeco Field. Then the Mariners go on an eight-game trip through Houston and Kansas City.
NOTES: The Mariners rested injured second baseman Nick Franklin for the third consecutive game Saturday until the seventh inning when he came on as a pinch hitter and remained in the game at second base. Franklin lacerated his left knee, requiring five stitches, in Seattle’s last series against Oakland . . . Felix Hernandez’s 10 strikeouts Friday night marked his 25th career game with double-digit K’s, but only the second time he rung up 10 in fewer than 7.0 innings . . . The Mariners faced a lefty in Jason Vargas Saturday and will face lefties in three of their next four contests . . . Prior to Saturday’s game, the State of Washington Hall of Fame inducted Steve Emtman and Bob Walsh. Emtman helped lead the 1991 UW football team to a co-national championship, and Walsh, a Seattle promoter, brought numerous events to the city, including three Final Fours (1984, 1989, 1995) and the 1990 Goodwill Games.