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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Angels falter late in 8-6 loss to Mariners

Double plays prove to be rally killers for the Angels in the sixth and seventh innings.

June 06, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna

The Seattle Mariners may have one of the weakest-hitting teams in the major leagues, but they were a pesky bunch Wednesday night, scoring all of their runs with two out in an 8-6 victory over the Angels.

Kyle Seager paced a 12-hit Mariners attack with a two-run double in the fifth inning and a two-run single in the sixth, and though the Angels scored six runs for the third straight game, they got their fill of frustration, as two late-game rallies were killed by double plays.

The loss, only their fourth in 15 games, prevented the Angels from gaining ground in the American League West on the Texas Rangers, who lost at Oakland but still remain 41/2 games ahead of the Angels.

"You have to close out innings, but they got some key hits, and we cracked the door open for them," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Whether there were two outs or not, we let some things unravel out there."

One crack came in the fifth inning, when Angels starter Jerome Williams retired the first two batters, only to have shortstop Erick Aybar boot Ichiro Suzuki's grounder for an error, his eighth of the season after making 13 errors in 2011. Dustin Ackley doubled, and Seager hit a two-run double to tie the score, 4-4.

The Angels scored on singles by Kendrys Morales and Howie Kendrick in the fifth inning to take a 6-4 lead, but Seattle rallied again in the sixth, scoring three runs with two out, the key hits Suzuki's run-scoring single against Williams, which snapped an 0-for-20 skid, and Seager's two-run single against reliever Bobby Cassevah.

"I tried to bear down, and they got me," said Williams, who fell to 6-3 and suffered his first loss this season in Angel Stadium, where he was 5-0 with a 2.17 earned-run average in five starts. "I felt fine and had good stuff. But there were crucial moments where I had to make a pitch, and I didn't."

Trailing, 7-6, the Angels threatened in the sixth when Hank Conger and Peter Bourjos opened the inning with singles, but Mike Trout struck out and Maicer Izturis grounded into a 3-6-1 double play.

Albert Pujols led off the seventh with a double to left and took third on Morales' fly ball to medium left, but after Mark Trumbo was walked intentionally, Kendrick hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

Suzuki then lined a solo homer to right against reliever David Carpenter in the eighth to give the Mariners an 8-6 lead.

"The only thing we can do is keep setting the table and do what we can do," Scioscia said.

"I don't know if you can look at this game as an offensive letdown. We had leads and couldn't hold them."

Williams gave up two runs in the second when Jesus Montero and Michael Saunders singled and Mike Carp hit a two-run double to left. The Angels countered with two in the second on Aybar's run-scoring double and Conger's sacrifice fly.

In the third, Seattle starter Hector Noesi grooved an 0-and-2 fastball to Morales, who crushed it into the right-field seats -- it traveled an estimated 421 feet -- for a two-run homer and a 4-2 Angels lead.

This was an all-too-familiar occcurence for Noesi, the 25-year-old right-hander who has excellent stuff but is prone to mistakes.

Four of the 14 homers Noesi has given up this season, including one to Morales and one to Trumbo in a May 27 game in Seattle, have come on 0-and-2 counts.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

twitter.com/MikeDiGiovanna

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