Pearl Jam Guitarist Mike McCready performed the national anthem at Safeco Field, but it was of no help to the hometown Mariners as ancient rookie Matt Palmer won yet again, going 5-0 as an Angel, tied with Bo Belinsky for the 2nd best start, in terms if WINS, for a pitcher beginning his Angel career. Jered Weaver tied Whitey Ford's major league mark in 2006 when he began his Halo career by going 9-0.
Final Score in Seattle: Angels 6, Mariners 5
This sloppy game saw four outs made on the basepaths by the Halo squad as they were caught stealing by Kenji Johjima three times and doubled off 1B on a pop fly once. But the joke remianed on Johjima as he allowed 5 Stolen Bases and let a Wild Pitch go by for a critical run in a 2-Run 5th inning.
To add insult to injury, the Mariners alleged "Ace," young "King" Felix Hernandez was facing the underrated and formerly discarded Palmer. The Angels could not drive the stake deep enough in a wild, 32 pitch 1st inning that saw Her Majesty give up two runs and leave runners on the 2nd and 3rd.
In a postgame interview with broadcaster Jose Mota, Angels shortstop Maicer Izturis said that during that first inning, the Angels' lefthanded hitters discussed noticing Felix Hernandez' fastball tailing away from lefties and agreed to try to go to the opposite field. It worked. The king was without a crown as he allowed 6 Earned Runs and 11 hits in 5 and two-thirds innings.
Meanwhile the supposedly playoff-worthy Texas Rangers were held to ONE hit in Detroit against Dontrelle Willis in a pitcher's park. The Angels are now just 3 games back of the Rangers, a nice bounce considering their lost weekend in Arlington.
Seattle has been kind to to the Halos, allowing 26 hits in 2 games and, perhaps most fatally to their cause, delivering the type of sloppy, almost purposeless fielding that is making Mariner fans recall the origin of that Pearl Jam addition to the lexicon: GRUNGE. Grunge fielding is going to make for a long season in the Pacific Northwest.