One day after getting a stellar outing from late rotation addition Chris Young, the Mariners saw another replacement starter get knocked around by the Angels in a 6-4 loss at Safeco Field after getting sour news about one of their injured pitchers.
Los Angeles won for only the second time in seven games against Seattle (25-26) by battering starter Roenis Elias in the second inning. Manager Mike Scioscia stacked his lineup with all right-handed hitters in a clear attempt to negate the left-hander’s dominant curveball. That approach paid off as the Angels connected for four doubles to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
Mike Zunino thought Elias (3-4, 4.02 ERA) simply got away from the game plan.
“Just a little bit up in the zone,” Zunino said of Elias’ trouble. “We sorta got away from being fine on the corners and left some mistakes in the middle of the zone . . . He found his curveball and changeup later in that outing and sorta showed what he could do with those righties.”
Elias (3-4, 4.04 ERA) returned to form after the second, but it was too late. He pitched 6.1 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out five.
Down 4-1, the Mariners’ Justin Smoak led off the fourth with a solo homer off of Jered Weaver, his seventh. Seattle made it 4-3 after singles by Kyle Seager and Nick Franklin set up Dustin Ackley (reached on a fielder’s choice) to score on a wild pitch.
That was as close as Seattle would come despite having opportunities to tie or take the lead throughout. It left 10 men on base, threatening in nearly every inning.
Weaver (6-3, 2.99 ERA) has been hot since the Mariners last faced him in the opening series of the season, posting a 1.70 ERA since April 18, but owned a 4.38 ERA career at Safeco Field in 90.1 innings.
Those lost opportunities would come back to haunt Seattle as Los Angeles tacked on insurance runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings. Collin Cowgill led off with a double against Elias in the seventh, snapping a streak of eight in a row retired, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Trout.
In the eighth, rookie C.J. Cron homered off of reliever Tom Wilhelmsen. Cron went 2-for-4 with a double, homer and two RBI. Catcher Chris Iannetta was 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the Angels’ big second inning to lead the way.
“We battled back in that ballgame and were probably a hit from getting back in it,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “This guy (Weaver) is a proven winner, he’s a veteran and knows what he’s doing out there . . . He kept us off balance. I thought we battled all night with him . . . Got some big hits, scored some runs, got close, just no ice cream tonight. That’s the way it goes.”
The Mariners had one final opportunity in the ninth against Angels’ closer Ernesto Frieri. Michael Saunders walked with two outs andtook second base with the Angels concentrating on Robinson Cano. Saunders scored a pitch later when Cano delivered an RBI single up the middle. After Smoak walked, Kyle Seager came to the plate as the winning run, only to fall about 30 feet short of the fence with his fly ball to left.
Cano had another multi-hit game going 2-for-5 with an RBI and Nick Franklin had his second multi-hit game.
The loss came after recovering starter James Paxton was shut down temporarily with shoulder inflammation. Paxton pitched in his first live game since April 8 Saturday and has since dealt with lingering tightness in his arm. After being looked at by a team doctor Tuesday afternoon, the diagnosis was made. He could be off his throwing program for five to seven days while the inflammation subsides.
“I think he’s still making progress. I think we are doing the right thing being very cautious with him,” McClendon said. “He’s day-to-day and we’ll see what happens.”
Reliever Stephen Pryor at AAA Tacoma, was shut down for a week with a shoulder impingement . . . Smoak’s home run in the fourth inning marked just the second home run the Angels have given up in their last eight games.