The Mariners took on the Angels today in Los Angeles, the final game of a three game series and also the last game of a nine game road trip. The club has been playing well of late and they kept things up tonight with a tough 8-6 victory. They had a 5-4 record on the trip and took two of the three series they played.
Hector Noesi took the mound for Seattle today and he struggled early. In the second inning he gave up two earned runs of an Eric Aybar double and a Hank Conger sacrifice fly. Noesi got into more trouble in the third when he gave up a two run homer to a very hot Kendrys Morales. Noesi was pulled in the 5th after walking the two first batters. His final line on the day was 4.0IP 4H 6ER 5BB 1K.
Noesi really struggled with his command tonight as it shows with his 5 walks. It got him in trouble early, as he walked the leadoff batter in three different innings. Another result of him not hitting his spots was a high pitch count and Angels batters connecting off him, putting the ball in play. He now has a 5.99 ERA and a 5.65 FIP with a 3.33BB/9 and 5.32 K/9 to go with. The numbers are really disappointing thus far and you have to wonder how much longer he remains in the rotation. Could we see a demotion to AAA or maybe a move to the bullpen? We’ll have to see but his command is really suffering.
After the six runs by Noesi, the bullpen pretty much shut things down. Kelley entered the game in the 5th to relieve Noesi after he walked the two batters. Kelley gave up two runs on the inning off of a pair of base hits. Thus runs were tacked onto Noesi though. Kelley opened up the 6th, giving up back to back singles to start the inning. He came back and struck out Mike Trout but Stephen Pryor then replaced him.
Pryor came up huge in a few situations tonight. After coming in with two runners on, Pryor got a huge double play to end the inning. But he wasn’t done. Pryor got into some trouble in the 7th after giving up a leadoff double to Albert Pujols who was then hit over to third on a sac fly. Pryor then intentionally walked Mark Trumbo and it paid off. He got the next batter, Howie Kenrick to ground into a double play to get out of the inning.
Brandon League entered the game in the 8th with a promising 1-2-3 inning, briding the gap to new closer, Tom Wilhelmsen. After picking up his first career save the other night, he picked up save number two with a dominant 9th inning tonight. Pujols got something going with a two out double but Wilhelmsen followed up by striking Kendrys Morales out to the game. The bullpen really shut things down tonight which was a great sign
After Noesi got off to a rough start, the Mariners offense bailed him out. They posted two runs in the second inning off of a string of base hits. Montero led off the inning with a base hit and after Smoak flied out, Saunders stepped up with a base hit. With two outs, Carp hit a clutch two RBI double, bringing in both runs. Seattle posted another two run spot in the 5th which tied the game up at four. With two outs, Ichiro reached first on a throwing error and the Angels would pay for this. Dustin Ackley picked up a ground rule double and Kyle Seager followed up with a big time, two RBI double.
In the 6th, things got exciting. Saunders opened up the inning with a base hit and after Olivo lined out, Carp was hit by a pitch putting runners on first and second. Brendan Ryan went on to ground out but Ichiro picked up a two out, RBI base knock. Seager came up to the plate in another big moment and again came up huge. He hit in two runs off an RBI base hit, giving the Mariners a 7-6 lead. Seattle earned some insurance in the 8th when Ichiro (that’s right, Ichiro) picked up his fourth homerun of the year.
The young guys in the lineup continued to stay hot and things are looking promising. Kyle Seager came up huge in two moments, going 2-4 with four RBI. Montero, Ichiro, and Ackley also picked up two hits on the day. Michael Saunders continued to look locked in at the plate, going 3-5 on the game. Smoak, who was very hot coming into the game, cooled down a little with a rough 0-5 outing including 2 strikeouts.
I’d have to say, this was a pretty positive road trip for the Mariners as the offense came up huge and they were able to take five of nine games. The Mariners will play three inner-league series in a row now with the Dodgers coming to town Friday, followed by the Padres, and then the Giants.