BY SPNW Staff 10:18PM 05/04/2015

Game recap: Mariners 3, Angels 2


Felix Hernandez improved to 5-0 to begin a season, a career first, striking out eight Angels in a 3-2 victory Monday in Anaheim, averting a season-high five-game losing streak for the Mariners (box score). All runs came on solo homers — Nelson Cruz, Logan Morrison and Seth Smith for the Mariners, Matt Joyce and David Freese for the Angels.

The Mariners (11-15) and Angels (11-15) are tied in the season series 3-3.

Essential moment

The seventh inning had two: Cruz with his major league-leading 14th homer, and one out later, Morrison with his fourth. Up to those points, starter Matt Shoemaker had held the Mariners to one single (Kyle Seager), a walk and a hit batter.


Cruz became the fifth player in MLB history to hit 14 homers in the season’s first 26 games. No one has hit 15 in 27.  The other four: Cy Williams (1923 Phillies), Mike Schmidt (1976 Phillies), Albert Pujols (2006 Cardinals) and Alex Rodriguez (2007 Yankees). Entering the game, Cruz led the majors in several offensive categories, including home runs (13), RBI (25), slugging percentage (.788) and OPS (1.170).

Morrison and Cruz also combined on a 9-4 double play in the sixth when Mike Trout ran too far from first on a flyout to right. Cruz’s throw and Morrison’s pick were perfect.

Smith’s homer in the eighth proved the game-winner.


Hernandez was lifted after seven innings and 102 pitches. He gave up six singles, but the only score was a solo homer to Joyce, his first, in the seventh. Carson Smith gave up a hit but no runs in the eighth. Former Angel Fernando Rodney, who didn’t pitch the four-game sweep by the Astros, earned his eighth save despite a home run to Freese with one out, then a walk with two out. But C Mike Zunino cut down a pinch runner attempting to steal second to end the game.


Manager Lloyd McClendon, on Cruz’s home run:  “That was pretty big — their pitcher (Shoemaker) was pitching pretty well. He had us shut down. Probably that was the only pitch he left up to Cruz all day.”


With Hernandez on the mound,  the Mariners are 8-0 vs. the Angels dating back to Sept. 22, 2013 (he is 5-0) . . . Before Monday, over his last eight starts vs. the Angels (since 8/23/13), Hernandez had 77 strikeouts for a 13.59 K/9.0 IP average . . . With two first-inning strikeouts, Hernandez became the all-time strikeout leader among  Venezuelan-born players, breaking a tie with Johan Santana . . . Mariners won the season series last year 12-7, but lost two of three in the season-opening series in Seattle . . . Mariners have won eighth of their past 12 in Anaheim . . . McClendon said before the game that in the injury absence of CF Austin Jackson, Justin Ruggiano will get the majority of starts in center. Also, Brad Miller might play the outfield besides short. McClendon cautioned that Miller is not the fall guy for the team’s offensive travail:  “He’s not the forgotten man.  He’s certainly not the culprit in all of this.”


The second in the three-game series is 7 p.m. Tuesday: LHP James Paxton (0-2, 5.74) vs. RHP Garrett Richards (2-1, 3.00).



  • Topcatone

    If we are going to do anything in the playoffs we need a closer.

    • art thiel

      He’s 5th in AL in saves.

  • Da Kid

    Typical Felix win. He absolutely MUST hold the opposition to two runs or less to have a 50/50 shot at winning. Tonight he needed three solo homers to overcome the Fernando Rodney, Drama Queen Factor. If it had been a one-run game going into the 9th, he would have come away with a no-decision.

    Aside from the three dingers, the line-up managed to muster just ONE single!

    F’ing brilliant pitcher, f’ing pathetic everyone else but Cruz.

    • art thiel

      Soon you’lll be cooing over Lomo.

  • jafabian

    Felix looks determined to yank back the Cy Young award from Corey Kluber, who’s 0-4 with a 4.62 ERA. The lineup really needs to focus on getting on base more. Solo HR’s can only carry a team so far.

    • art thiel

      Lowest OBP in MLB.

  • Long-Time Mariners Fan

    About this Fernando Rodney – surf on over to and find the article for last night’s game. There’s a video there of the last out – Zunino guns down Cowgill at second. Watch Rodney – the guy who gave up the home run to Freese and put the tying run on first with a walk. Watch Rodney – what he pays attention to (His Arrow Thing) and what he ignores (Zunino.)

    Is this what the 2015 Mariners are about? Because there’s a column for Wins and there’s a column for Losses, but there’s no column for Gestures.

    Official Scorer, please update the box score – Save: Zunino

    • coug73

      Zunino, would be the first to say he did what he’s paid to do. Many ball players use gestures to release emotion during the game. Felix and Cruz come to mind. Oh, I read a story this morning that said McClendon called a slid step pitch delivery to hold the runner and Rodney delivered a strike giving Zunino a better opportunity to throw the runner out and Zunino delivered a good throw to Cano who placed the tag down quickly. Good play all around for the M’s.

      • Long-Time Mariners Fan

        After I posted this, I, too, read about the slide step and how it gave a big advantage to Zunino. Kudos to all involved for getting that out. A team effort and a victory for the team.

        I’m not sure what you mean above when you say “what he’s paid to do.” Paid to get the out? – I agree, and I can take those times when he doesn’t get the out and/or blows the save. That’s Ball.

        Paid to Shoot The Arrow? – uh, no. Unless Baseball has evolved into a Total Entertainment Experience, it’s…. oh, I see. Never mind.

        • coug73

          I meant Z’s paid to throw runners out as his job as catcher. Rodney and Z combined to set the runner up and give Z a better chance of getting the runner out a 2nd. Well done by all 3 players involved in the play. I don’t know what the Shoot The Arrow gesture is all about but it means the M’s win to me. LoMo seems to have fun with the STA.

        • art thiel

          Welcome to 2015. Don’t forget to tip your wait-acrobat.

      • art thiel

        Lots of good D throughout the game. Refreshing.

    • art thiel

      Well said, LTMF. F-Rod’s chubby butt was pulled from the fire. At least a nod . . .