The Mariners (34-42) have lost in a myriad of ways this season, but Sunday they mined new territory, falling 3-2 to the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on a walk-off wild pitch by Tom Wilhelmsen in the 10th (box score). Hours earlier, Houston dispatched the New York Yankees 3-1, meaning that Seattle sits nine games out of first in the AL West, its hopes for even a second wild card berth fading fast.
Wilhelmsen replaced Fernando Rodney in the 10th and gave up an infield single to Johnny Giavotella when Giavotella’s ground ball bounced off Wilhelmsen’s glove. After Kole Calhoun singled, Wilhelmsen intentionally walked Mike Trout. The Mariners brought LF Dustin Ackley in as an extra infielder with Albert Pujols at the plate, and Wilhelmsen induced a weak ground ball, resulting in a double play that left Calhoun at third. C Mike Zunino blocked a potential wild pitch by Wilhelmsen, but a changeup squirted between Zunino’s legs, allowing Calhoun to score.
Kyle Seager’s home run in the ninth, a rocket into the right-field seats off closer Houston Street that tied the score 2-2, was his 12th of the season and 36th RBI. Nelson Cruz (1-for-4) knocked a double off the right-field wall in the fourth, staking Seattle starter Felix Hernandez to a 1-0 lead. Austin Jackson produced two of Seattle’s five hits, going 2-for-4 while lifting his batting average to .261.
Robinson Cano, who left Saturday’s game with a head contusion after he was hit by an errant warm-up throw between the sixth and seventh innings, returned to the starting lineup Sunday and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. He’s batting .241. Mark Trumbo continued to struggle, going 0-for-4. He’s batting .151 since joining the Mariners.
Hernandez threw another dazzler, leaving with a one-hit shutout with eight strikeouts and three walks over six innings. He threw 96 pitches, 59 for strikes and lowered his ERA from 3.24 to 3.05. Trout and Pujols went a combined 0-for-6 against Hernandez, who, despite leg cramps in near-90 degree heat, reached the 100-strikeout plateau for the season but lost his bid for his 11th victory when the Angels scored against Charlie Furbush in the seventh.
The Mariners used six relievers in the four innings after Hernandez departed, Wilhelmsen taking the loss.
“This was a very tough loss. The guys played their hearts out on an extremely difficult day. Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it off” — Lloyd McClendon, Mariners manager.
“Felix was out of gas. It was extremely hot out there and Felix gave us everything he had” — McClendon, on why he removed Hernandez after six innings.
With another series loss, the Mariners are 8-13-4 . . . They are also 31-36 against the American League and 18-15 against the AL West . . . The Mariners have lost 10 of their past 11 day games . . . Forty-six of Seattle’s 76 games have been decided by two or fewer runs . . . Prior to Sunday’s 3-2 loss, the Mariners had won eight consecutive Hernandez starts against the Angels . . . The Mariners have played 10 extra-inning games, most in the AL. They are 4-6.
The Mariners are off Monday and begin a two-game series at San Diego Tuesday. LHP Mike Montgomery (2-2, 2.04) will throw for Seattle opposite RHP Ian Kennedy (4-6, 5.09). Following the San Diego series, the Mariners play four in Oakland.