Angels starting pitcher Dan Haren improved to 14-8 by working six innings… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
For a "quality" start, it was sure lacking in quality. Dan Haren was rocked for 10 hits, including a home run and two doubles, in six innings, and the Angels right-hander still managed to limit the Seattle Mariners to three runs in a 7-3 victory Monday night.
Style points are of no consequence to the Angels right now. As ugly and uninspiring as their win over the error-prone Mariners was, it moved them to within 2 1/2 games of the Texas Rangers in the American League West with 21 games to play.
"It doesn't matter how you do it, what it looks like, a win is always good," said Vernon Wells, who hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, his 20th homer of the season. "I don't think there's such a thing as a sloppy win. We'll take it any way we can."
Haren gave up a run on three consecutive two-out singles in the first inning but avoided further damage when right fielder Torii Hunter threw out Mike Carp at third base.
The right-hander gave up another run in the second on Adam Kennedy's double and Josh Bard's run-scoring single but escaped a second-and-third, one-out jam by getting Ichiro Suzuki to ground out and Brendan Ryan to strike out.
Ryan hit a solo homer in the fifth, and the Mariners put two on with one out later in the inning, but Haren got out of it. Seattle outhit the Angels, 11-7, and many of their hits were rockets, but Haren still improved to 14-8.
"My last game, I threw the ball as well as I have all year and lost, and tonight I threw the ball as bad as I have all year and won," Haren said. "That's baseball.
"This was one of those games where I just didn't have it. It was a battle from the get-go. I was fighting myself, getting behind in the count. I didn't feel that great. I couldn't find my release point. But I could care less, as long as we win."
The Mariners committed five errors, two during the Angels' three-run third, which included Hunter's sacrifice fly and Mark Trumbo's RBI double that made it 6-2.
Hunter and Trumbo also keyed a three-run first, Hunter hitting a fly-ball RBI triple that drifted on center fielder Trayvon Robinson, who failed to make the catch at the wall, and Trumbo hitting a two-run homer against left-hander Anthony Vasquez.
Trumbo's team-leading 26th homer gave the Angels a 3-1 lead. The rookie first baseman, who also leads the team with 80 runs batted in, hit a first-inning grand slam to jump-start the Angels in a 10-6 win over Minnesota on Saturday.
"We've talked about that all year," Trumbo said, when asked about staking an Angels starter to an early lead. "We put a lot of pressure on those guys early. Anything we can do to take a little off their backs and let them do their thing is good."
Manager Mike Scioscia said the offense "is as deep as it's been all year," and for the Angels to overtake the Rangers, they must continue to hit as they have in the last 16 games, when they've averaged 6.6 runs, more than two runs over their season average.
"Just when you think we're too far back, we win a few games and [Texas] loses a few," Haren said.