The pregame meeting called by hitting coach Mickey Hatcher on Thursday had two purposes--to remind the Angels how to hit, and to have more fun.
But while the Angels ended up with more hits than Seattle did Thursday night, it was the Mariners who had more fun.
Seattle's 8-4 win in front of 18,806 at Edison Field completed a four-game sweep of the Angels, who were reduced to holding another closed-door meeting following the loss.
And while there were a number of points for the Angels to ponder--ranging from the fact that the Mariners have beaten them 12 straight times in Anaheim and 19 of the last 23 meetings overall to the cold realization that they are 1-6 at home to open a season for the first time since 1971--Angel Manager Mike Scioscia insisted that the skull session was all about stressing the positives.
"The guys are upbeat," Scioscia said. "They've just got to relax and ... not try too hard.
"That's a good ballclub in that room and we're going to show it over the course of the season. Tonight we made some good strides. It's a loss, but I saw some good signs tonight."
One of those was the Angels, whose .212 team batting average entering the game was the second-lowest in the American League, outhitting the Mariners, 10-8, with David Eckstein and Adam Kennedy getting three hits apiece.
Nevertheless, Seattle starter Freddy Garcia (1-2) picked up his first win of the season, going 61/3 innings and giving up four runs, three earned, and nine hits. Garcia had three strikeouts and did not walk a batter.
Angel starter Scott Schoeneweis (1-1) took the loss, giving up eight runs and six hits in 52/3 innings.
The left-hander's earned-run average ballooned from 1.08 to 5.79 after he walked four batters (one intentionally), hit two and struck out three against the Mariners.
The Mariners jumped to a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning.
With one out, Schoeneweis hit Edgar Martinez with a pitch. One batter later, Mike Cameron drove a 3-and-1 Schoeneweis pitch the other way, clearing the wall in right-center for his second home run of the season.
The Angels tied it an inning later.
A one-out Eckstein single to right field drove in Scott Spiezio, who had also singled to right to lead off the inning, for Anaheim's first run.
Darin Erstad reached first to load the bases on an error by Garcia, who missed the bag covering on a hard grounder to Seattle first baseman Jeff Cirillo.
Then Garret Anderson jumped on the first pitch he saw, a 93-mph fastball from Garcia, and drove it to deep center field. It had the distance to clear the wall for a grand slam, but Cameron timed his leap perfectly and pulled the ball back in, turning the drive into a comparatively harmless sacrifice fly.
Still, Adam Kennedy was able to tag up from third and tie the score, 2-2.
But it would not matter.
The Mariners sent 10 batters to the plate in the sixth inning, scored six runs and chased Schoeneweis.
The big hit was a two-out, three-run double by Cirillo off Angel reliever Donne Wall.
"I can't really put my finger on it," Schoeneweis said of his sixth-inning troubles. "I think in a tight game, I was pressing a bit and trying to throw a perfect pitch but missed by a hair.
"When you lose three games in a row, you want to be the guy that stops the bleeding."
Instead, it was the Mariners who couldn't be stopped.
"Next thing you know," Schoeneweis said, "it's 8-2."
The Angels scored two runs in the seventh and were threatening for more, but on Mariner reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa's first pitch, Anderson grounded into an inning-ending double play.
On a night when Seattle Manager Lou Piniella did not start regulars John Olerud, Mark McLemore and Ichiro Suzuki, the Mariners' designated hitter, Edgar Martinez, went down in the ninth running out a ground ball. He was diagnosed with a pulled left hamstring and will undergo an MRI test today.
With the Angels in the midst of 19 games against AL West rivals, and the pitching-rich Oakland Athletics in town for a three-game series beginning tonight, Anaheim's early-season morale will be tested as well.
"Some guys are pressing a little bit," Scioscia said.
"But it absolutely is not a situation of here we go again."