For the second night in a row, a late Mariners rally was rendered moot. The Los Angeles Angels responded in walk-off fashion, with the clincher coming on Johnny Giavotella’s ninth-inning RBI double to send the Mariners to a 4-3 loss at Angel Stadium of Anaheim (box score). The dramatic finishes dropped the Mariners to 4-6 on their 10-game trip and to last place in the American League West.
After LF Dustin Ackley delivered a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to tie it at 3 in the ninth, reliever Carson Smith began the bottom of the frame by walking David Freese. That bit him when Giavotella lined a one-out RBI double down the right-field line to score Erick Aybar.
It wasn’t quite deja vu after Tuesday when Angels C Carlos Perez hit a game-winning home run in his big-league debut. But close enough. The Mariners (11-17) are tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates for first in the big leagues with five walk-off losses.
In the fourth, 3B Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer to narrow the lead to 3-2. It was Seager’s third of the season. He also came around to score the tying run in the ninth after leading off against closer Houston Street (2-0) with a double.
RF/DH Nelson Cruz went 2-for-4 with a run and C Mike Zunino went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .177.
Perhaps LHP Roenis Elias should have started the season in the rotation instead of Triple-A Tacoma. Since replacing RHP Hishashi Iwakuma, Elias has fared well in his three starts but has no wins to show for it. Wednesday, the Cuban defector went a season-high seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out five.
His only struggles came in the third inning when he gave up an RBI double to Kole Calhoun and a two-run shot to Mike Trout. MLB.com’s Statcast estimated Trout’s drive traveled 441 feet.
“This is a funny game in a lot of different ways,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Sometimes you got to suck it up. This was a very, very tough road trip for us in a lot of different ways. Certainly had opportunities to win ballgames . . . but as the saying goes, I think the baseball gods are testing us a little bit.”
Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen threw a 25-pitch simulated game Wednesday as he makes his way back from a hyperextended right elbow that landed him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 11. The right-hander will see how his arms responds Thursday, then the club decides his next move. He’s expected to go on a short rehab assignment. Barring a setback, look for a mid-May return . . . Iwakuma, on the 15-day DL with a lat strain behind his right shoulder, will also need a rehab assignment, McClendon said. Iwakuma is in Seattle playing catch up to 75 feet, but remains a “ways away” from rejoining the club . . . Willie Bloomquist played his first game this season in left field . . . Among AL teams, only the 10-16 Cleveland Indians have a worse record.
The Mariners are off Thursday, then start a nine-game homestand Friday with a weekend series against the Oakland Athletics. RHP Taijuan Walker (1-3, 8.74 ERA) gets the nod after the Astros battered him for eight runs, seven earned, in an 11-4 loss his last outing, which lasted a season-low three innings. The Athletics counter with ace right-hander Sonny Gray (4-0, 1.67 ERA).