Mariners lose to Angels on wild pitch by Wilhelmsen in 10th
By JOE RESNICK
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Felix Hernandez exited after six innings of one-hit ball against the Los Angeles Angels because of heat cramps caused by the oppressive humidity. So it was the responsibility of Seattle’s bullpen to finish the job.
That didn’t happen.
Mark Lowe and Joe Beimel gave up RBI singles to Erick Aybar and Kole Calhoun in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, and Tom Wilhelmsen allowed Calhoun to score on a wild pitch in the 10th as the Mariners lost 3-2 Sunday.
“All I was thinking about there was that they were just waiting for fastballs, so I’m just going to throw off-speed stuff,” Wilhelmsen said. “I switched to the changeup, and it cut on me instead of ran away. The ball usually doesn’t do that, but it did today. Pretty costly.”
Johnny Giavotella led off the 10th with a line-drive single off Wilhelmsen’s glove. Calhoun followed with a hit-and-run single that put runners at the corners, and Mike Trout was intentionally walked for the second straight time.
Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon then motioned left fielder Dustin Ackley in for a five-man infield, and Albert Pujols grounded into a 6-2-3 double play started by shortstop Brad Miller. But Wilhelmsen (1-2) uncorked his first wild pitch of the season on a full count with runners at second and third and rookie Kyle Kubitza at the plate.
“Tom throws one of the harder changeups, so you have to be able to shift as quick as you can one way or the other,” catcher Mike Zunino said. “I thought I got as close as I could to squaring it up. I thought I almost got it, but I must have been a little late trying to get my glove down.”
Trevor Gott (1-0) earned his first major league victory with a perfect 10th inning.
Four players in the Angels’ starting lineup came in with some brutal career numbers against Hernandez. Calhoun was 1 for 21, David Freese was 0 for 15, and Chris Iannetta and Matt Joyce each 2 for 24. They ended up a combined 0 for 6 with three walks against Hernandez on Sunday.
“He’s got some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen. So anytime you can win a game that Felix starts, it’s a good day,” Calhoun said.
Angels closer Huston Street gave up Kyle Seager’s 12th homer in the ninth after striking out Robinson Cano and retiring Nelson Cruz.
“He’s been very good for us in those situations,” McClendon said. “He came up big again. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t pull it off.”
The blown save was the third in 24 opportunities this season for Street, who remains four saves shy of 300.
“Kyle Seager’s a great player. I left a pitch right down the middle and he did what you’re supposed to do in that situation – you put it in the bleachers,” Street said.
Angels lefty Hector Santiago retired his first 10 batters before giving up a one-out single in the fourth to Franklin Gutierrez, a walk to Cano and an RBI double by Cruz.
“My whole goal out there was to get deep in the game and give us a chance to win,” Santiago said. “When you’re facing Felix, you almost have to pitch a perfect game to compete with him.”
Hernandez issued a leadoff walk in the sixth to Calhoun, then got a visit from McClendon with a 2-0 count on Trout, who grounded into a double play on a 3-0 delivery before Pujols flied out on Hernandez’s 96th and final pitch.
“He was out of gas,” McClendon said. “It was a very difficult day. It was extremely hot out there. The conditions were tough. Felix gave me everything he had. He was done.”
On his way back to the dugout, Hernandez walked over to Pujols near first base and shared a lighthearted moment. The three-time NL MVP has hit one of his 543 career homers in 45 at-bats against the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner.
Hernandez is 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA in his last nine starts against the Angels.
“That’s just a great grind-out win against an incredible pitcher,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Felix is tough, and Hector matched him pitch for pitch.”
Cano showed no ill effects after getting knocked out of Saturday’s game. He was sitting in the dugout talking to Gutierrez before the start of the seventh inning when an errant warmup throw past first base from shortstop Taylor Featherston struck Cano in the left temple.
Mariners: Rookie LHP Mike Montgomery (2-2) takes his 2.02 ERA into the opener of a two-game set at San Diego on Tuesday night, one day before his 26th birthday. He is coming off a 7-0 victory over Kansas City in which he pitched a five-hitter and struck out 10 without walking a batter in his fifth big league start.
Angels: LHP C.J. Wilson faces struggling CC Sabathia and the visiting Yankees on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series.