Final Score in Los Angeles of Anaheim: Mariners 8, Angels 9
It took a monumental comeback to turn what would have been a 1-5 homestand against mediocre teams into momentum heading into a tough road trip. But the slap-hitting Angels never said DIE, even when they were down 6-0 early on another terrible Ervin Santana starting effort. Choking at 8-1 in the 6th inning, they mounted a comeback that capitalized on Mariner mistakes, a few sloppy singles, some patient walks and three innings of shutout pitching from their bullpen.
The big hit was a Kendry Morales bases-loaded single to Left with two out in the bottom of the 9th, but it was a comedy of Mariner errors that got them to that point. The inning began with Mike Scioscia serving Howie Kendrick notice by pinch hitting Maicer Izturis to draw a leadoff walk. The buzz in Anaheim is that Kendrick and Erick Aybar might be going to AAA Salt Lake in preparation of calling up Brandon Wood and Sean Rodriguez. Aybar did not help his case with a shallow flyout, but a walk to Chone Figgins, a bloop double by Vlad Guerrero and an ill-advised intentional walk to Torii Hunter set the stage for Juan Rivera to set the bat on his back shoulder as David Aardsma threw five pitches. The weave of the cloth held the bat in place as Ball 4 tied the game and set the stage for Morales, who had entered the game midway in place of Robb Quinlan.
Many questions face the Angels as they embark on a tough road trip. Santana is a major question mark, his fastball never hitting above 92 and really sitting at 90 for most of his 97 pitches. His slider is nonexistent at this point. Howie Kendrick is slumping miserably and Erick Aybar seems to have given up on any notion of diving for groundballs too far to his left or right. Replacing them with Sean Rodriguez and Brandon Wood is an option, but Chone Figgins is not really contributing, as he is only good for a smattering of singles on occasion and almost two weeks lapsed between his 19th and 20th Stolen Base. The best pitching performance of the homestand was Matt Palmer, so of course, he will be going to the bullpen in favor of the return of Kelvim Escobar in Detroit on Friday. But they gained a game in the standings for the first time in 8 days.
Anything else? Yeah, the Ms got lucky last night, we got lucky today. Wow... That's baseball!