|Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki leaps on the run to snag a fly ball from Los Angeles Angels' Howard Kendrick in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Sunday, May 27, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)|
Mariners lose fourth straight to Angels
SEATTLE—How things have changed for the Seattle Mariners in a matter of four days.
Entering their long weekend series with the Los Angeles Angels, the Mariners had won five of their previous six games as they attempt to take baby steps back to success.
Now they've got a four-game losing streak.
Kendrys Morales had three hits, including a home run, scored twice and drove in two runs to help the Angels complete their first four-game road sweep of the Mariners in 27 years with a 4-2 victory.
They last swept the Mariners in four games here from April 25-28, 1985.
"It's never fun to lose," said Justin Smoak, who had an RBI single in the fourth. "You go out there every day and work your butt off to do what it takes to win. We've had a tough stretch here as of late."
Smoak has been one of the brighter offensive elements. Over his last 15 games, he's hitting .317 with a double, four home runs and 11 RBI.
Mariners starter Hector Noesi (2-6) took the loss. He went eight innings, allowing five hits and three runs.
"He is consistently getting us deep into ball games and giving us the opportunity to win," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "I can't say enough about his performance."
Noesi is 1-3 with a 3.22 ERA with 21 strikeouts over his last five starts. He went eight innings for the third time this season.
The biggest problem for Noesi was Morales and Mark Trumbo each hit solo home runs off on 0-2 pitches.
"I just hanging the pitch to Kendrys and the other one was a good pitch," Noesi said. "I don't know if he was waiting for it or something but it was middle down, I think."
Wedge added his pitching staff "is doing a nice job of controlling what they can control." His offense, however, continues to be inconsistent.
"We've got to do more offensively," he said. "It's hard to win up here if you have to be perfect out there on the mound."
A blister on Angels' starter C.J. Wilson's left hand did more damage than the Mariners offense could. It forced him out of the game after the sixth inning. He allowed just two hits and one run when a blister at the tip of his left hand middle finger flared up. He was removed as a precaution.
The only time they got to Wilson (6-4) was two-out double by Jesus Montero in the fourth followed by Justin Smoak's RBI single to right.
"He was good," Wedge said. "He had a real good breaking ball, a slow one and a quick one. We did a nice job with his fastball, whether he was cutting it in to the right-handers and keeping it down and away. He pitched a real nice ball game."
Jordan Walden, Ernesto Frieri and Scott Downs covered for him over the final three innings. Downs got his fifth save.
"This is like we envisioned during spring training, an offense that coalesces into a multifaceted unit, speed guys, power guys," Wilson said. "The last run we scored was a sac-fly but Kendrys tagged up from second on the flyout to center field. That's why he scored. We have to get greedy every time we score a run."
Wilson said the blister would not affect his next start.
"I had only given up two hits and one run at that point. I wanted to stay out there," Wilson said. "I had made a lot of mechanical adjustments the last couple starts and wanted to keep going with those. But I'm going in the right direction."
Mike Trout opened the game with a single to right and stole second. He scored on Morales' two-out single to left.
The Mariners closed it to one run in the seventh when Montero scored from third on a wild pitch.
The Angels added a run in the ninth on Howie Kendrick's sacrifice fly, scoring Morales.
NOTES: Mariners 3B Kyle Seager made a quick, athletic move in the fifth to avoid being hit by Trout's splintered bat. Seager gathered up the grounder but spotted the bat barrel pin wheeling toward his head. He ducked under it, made a 360-degree turn and threw a strike to first. ... Alberto Callaspo's pinch-hit grand slam Saturday was the 6th allowed by the Mariners in club history but the first since May 6, 1988 (Detroit's Pat Sheridan off Mike Jackson.) ... Mariners CF Franklin Gutierrez will be sent to Arizona Monday to start his rehab from a torn right pectoral muscle in spring training. It's expected he will move along to Triple-A Tacoma before returning. ... Two-time batting champion and career .324 hitter Ichiro Suzuki went 0 for 3 against Wilson and has a career .196 average with 12 strikeouts against him.