Grant Green’s three-run double in the second inning and Collin Cowgill’s straight steal of home in the seventh provided the L.A. Angels the edge to beat the Mariners 6-5 Saturday night. L.A.’s win overshadowed Raul Ibanez’s 300th career home run that placed Ibanez’s name alongside that of Hall of Famer Ted Williams.
With one out in the ninth, Ibanez ripped a fastball off Ernesto Frieri well into the right-field seats his 29th this season. That tied the legendary Williams’ 1960 record for most home runs in a single season by a 41-year old.
The Ibanez blast trimmed Seattle’s deficit to 6-5. That’s the way it ended after Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders whiffed.
The Mariners (67-88) have lost one more game than they dropped in 2012, when the finished 75-87. Seattle has also lost three in a row, 11 of 13 and 15 of 20. The Mariners are 2-7 on their 10-game road trip and 18-28 in one-run games. Seattle is a dismal 5-15 in September, so far its worst showing in the month since it went 6-20 in September of 1992.
The key play occurred in the seventh after Cowgill hit a leadoff triple. Following a Joe Saunders strikeout of Grant Green, Cowgill bolted for home and scored when a Saunders pitch sailed way wide of catcher Henry Blanco. Cowgill scored standing up.
That marked the first steal of home against the Mariners since Aug. 18, 2009, when Ryan Raburn of Detroit scored in the second inning on the front end of a double steal along with Miguel Cabrera.
That 6-2 lead barely held when Sdeattle added three runs in the eighth and ninth inning.
The Angels teed off on Saunders in the second, scoring four times on three hits, including Green’s three-run double to left and Andrew Romine’s RBI single. The Mariners got a run back in the third on a Kyle Seager ground ball that scored Nick Franklin (Seager’s 67th RBI), but LA moved out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth on Cowgill’s second home run of the season.
The Mariners got a run in the seventh when Cory Rasmus balked, scoring Abraham Almonte, who walked on a full count.
ARMS: Saunders worked 7.0 innings, allowing six earned runs on six hits. He matched his career high with nine strikeouts and walked two. He threw 125 pitches, 75 for strikes. His ERA jumped to 5.26 and his record fell to 11-16 . . . Former closer Tom Wilhelmsen worked a scoreless eighth inning with one strikeout.
BATS: The Mariners had eight hits, two more by Franklin (2-for-3), who has produced five hits in his past two games. Franklin lifted his batting average to .225.
NOTES: The Mariners expect that RHP Erasmo Ramirez will make his next scheduled next week when the club returns to Safeco Field for the final home stand of the season. Ramirez was removed in the seventh inning Friday after experiencing tightness in his groin while pitching to L.A.’s Mark Trumbo . . . The Mariners held out shortstop Brad Miller of the lineup Saturday for the seventh consecutive game with a strained hamstring, but inserted him as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning . . . Sunday’s radio broadcast will be moved to 770-AM (KTTH) due to a conflict with Seahawks football on 710 ESPN Seattle, but the 12:35 p.m. PT contest against the Angels will be televised as usual by ROOT Sports.
NEXT: The series ends with a 12:35 p.m. start. RHP Felix Hernandez (12-9, 3.01) will throw for Seattle opposite LHP C.J. Wilson (17-6, 3.36). Hernandez will be making his first start since Sept. 2, when he suffered an oblique strain. The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday to start the final home stand, six against the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics.
With Saturday’s loss, the Mariners 37-year franchise record fell to 400 games below .500, with Chuck Armstrong being team president a good majority of those miserable years.