Leading off the ninth, the Angels’ David Freese hit a walk-off solo homer to center field as as the Seattle Mariners fell in Anaheim Saturday night 3-2 (box score). The Angels stayed a half-game behind Houston in the race for the second wild card, while the Mariners lost their fourth in row and cost Felix Hernandez the chance for his first 20-win season.
In the fourth, Angels CF Mike Trout robbed Jesus Montero of what was sure to be a three-run homer to center field. Tracking back on a deep fly, Trout leaped up against the wall, holding himself above the top with his right hand to make a back-handed catch as the ball threatened to sail beyond his grasp. The catch kept the Seattle lead at 2-1.
Ketel Marte hit his first major-league home run in the third, pulling a hard-hit ball over the left field wall. Only the Angels’ Kole Calhoun finished with more than one hit for either team, as they went a combined 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Felix Hernandez gave up two runs, including a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to C.J. Cron. Twice, Hernandez found his way out of bases-loaded jams in the first two innings, which included a Johnny Giavotella triple, two walks, two wild pitches and a catcher’s interference call. Seattle’s ace, with 18 wins, lasted just six innings in the no-decision, with only one scheduled start left. Reliever Danny Farquhar gave up the Freese homer and drop to 1-5.
“He didn’t have his best stuff, but I thought he battled and gave us a chance to win the game.” –Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon on Hernandez.
Hernandez surpassed the 200 IP-mark for the year for the season, and is nine strikeouts away from his seventh consecutive 200 IP, 200 K season . . . Vidal Nuno will start Tuesday against the Astros at Safeco Field, pitching on just three days’ rest and filling the spot originally booked for James Paxton. McClendon hopes Paxton’s torn fingernail will be healed enough to allow him to start on Wednesday. If not, he’ll go with an all-bullpen day in that series finale.Roenis Elias will pitch Monday’s opener.
Hisashi Iwakuma (9-4, 3.67 ERA) will face Jered Weaver (7-12, 4.86 ERA) at 12:35 p.m. Sunday in the series finale. Weaver was ejected from his last encounter with the Mariners after intentionally plunking Kyle Seager.