Mike Trout scores the only run of game on an errant pitch by Joe Saunders as… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)
Mike Trout manufactured a run with his speed in the sixth inning and saved one and possibly two runs with a superb defensive play in the seventh to help the Angels defeat the Seattle Mariners, 1-0, Wednesday night.
It was the kind of performance that surprised no one in the Angels' clubhouse, especially left-hander C.J. Wilson, who gave up two hits in seven scoreless innings to outduel Mariners lefty Joe Saunders, who yielded one run and six hits in eight innings.
"It's Mike Trout," Wilson said. "Put a cape on him."
BOX SCORE: Angels 1, Seattle 0
Trout, the 2012 American League rookie of the year and most valuable player runner-up, led off the sixth with what for most players would be a single to left. Trout took a sharp turn at first and was safe at second with a dive.
Trout took third on Albert Pujols' fly to right and scored when Saunders bounced a 1-and-2 curve in the dirt and away from catcher Mike Zunino.
Was Trout thinking double as soon he broke out of the box?
"Oh yeah, always," he said. "I don't ever really think single. Any ball in the gap, I'm thinking triple. We manufactured a run there, and that was big."
Wilson, who allowed three baserunners in the first six innings on an infield single and two walks, ran into trouble in the seventh when Kyle Seager led off with a single and stole second and, with one out, Michael Morse was hit by a pitch.
But Wilson struck out Raul Ibanez looking at a breaking ball, and Trout raced to the wall in left to make a leaping catch of Zunino's drive at the top of the fence to end the inning. Center fielder Peter Bourjos also made a nice leaping catch of Kendrys Morales' drive at the wall in the fourth.
"This is the best defensive outfield I've ever played with, easily," said Wilson, who had his first scoreless start in 37 games dating to June 2, 2012, against Texas. "We have three guys who can run, throw and go over the fence and get it. We have three center fielders, really."
Scott Downs retired the side in order in the eighth, and Ernesto Frieri threw a
1-2-3 ninth for his 16th save. Frieri has retired 16 straight batters, 10 by strikeout, in his last six outings.
Opponents have been successful on 14 of 15 stolen-base attempts in the 452/3 innings Tommy Hanson has pitched, hardly a surprise for the right-hander, who will start Thursday night against Seattle.
Hanson, because of a pause in his motion when he cocks his arm behind his head, has difficulty holding runners on, often leaving catchers with no chance to throw runners out.
"As long as I can remember, it's been hard for me to hold runners effectively and make a pitch," said Hanson, who is 4-2 with a 3.94 earned run average.
"I try to do the step-offs and pickoffs. I try to keep them close and give the catchers a chance. But I've struggled to find that happy medium between finding a comfort zone with my delivery and being quicker to the plate."