Angels starter C.J. Wilson pitches against the Seattle Mariners. (Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images )
SEATTLE — If C.J. Wilson's intent was to add a little drama to the proceedings at Safeco Field on Friday night, the Angels left-hander did a bang-up job of it.
Staked to a five-run lead in the third inning, Wilson allowed a weak-hitting Seattle club to load the bases with no outs in the fourth and one out in the fifth and to put runners on second and third with no outs in the sixth.
But as Wilson's pitch count soared, so did his strikeouts, and those bursts of dominance allowed him to minimize damage in the middle innings and the Angels, despite some nail-biting moments in the later innings, to claim a 6-3 victory over the Mariners.
BOX SCORE: Angels 6, Mariners 3
“At times C.J was electric, and at times it was rough,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He had a five-run lead but had trouble getting the ball in zones and putting guys away.”
Wilson needed 110 pitches to get through 51/3 innings in which he gave up three runs and seven hits and struck out nine. He struck out Justin Smoak for the first out of the fourth, and after hitting Kelly Shoppach with a pitch to force in a run, he whiffed Endy Chavez and Brendan Ryan to end the inning.
He escaped the fifth by getting Michael Morse to pop out and striking out Smoak. But after Shoppach singled and Robert Andino doubled in the sixth, both scored on a Chavez sacrifice fly and a Ryan safety squeeze to pull Seattle to within 5-3.
The Angels padded the lead on Peter Bourjos' double, a wild pitch and Albert Pujols' sacrifice fly in the seventh, and second baseman Howie Kendrick made a game-saving play in the bottom of the seventh.
With two on and two out, Dustin Ackley ripped a grounder that appeared headed to right field for a single.
But Kendrick knocked the ball down with a dive to his left, scrambled to his feet, picked up the ball in shallow right, spun and fired a perfect one-hop throw to the plate to nail Smoak, who was trying to score from second.
“That was as good of an agility play as you're going to see a second baseman make,” Scioscia said. “First to knock the ball down, then to regain his footing and throw home.”
Angels reliever Scott Downs ran into trouble in the eighth, when Chavez singled and Ryan walked. But the left-hander got Jason Bay to ground into a double play and struck out Kyle Seager to snuff out the rally.
Angels left fielder Mike Trout dropped Kendrys Morales' routine fly for a two-base error to open the ninth, but closer Ernesto Frieri got Ackley to ground out with two on to end the 3-hour, 34-minute game for his third save.
The Angels pounded Mariners starter Aaron Harang for five runs in the first three innings, Pujols hitting a sacrifice fly in the first, Hank Conger hitting a two-run homer in the second and Mark Trumbo hitting a laser of a two-run homer to center in the third for a 5-0 lead. Trumbo has reached base in all 22 games this season.
The Mariners put 17 runners on base from the fourth through ninth innings but went one for 12 with runners in scoring position in the game.