Angels 7 Mariners 8
This game begun as a battle between two veteran pitchers trying to put it together, as Ricky Nolasco and Halo killer Hisashi Iwakuma squared off head to head.
Tricky Ricky did not fool any hitters tonight: even though he struck out 6, baseballs were tattooed and it was a stroke of luck that most balls were able to find the gloves of Angels defenders. Robinson Cano, the third batter of the game, hit a no-doubt homer to right and it was all downhill from there for Nolasco. In the 5th, Jean Segura crushed a 2-run homer, which was followed by three consecutive hitters reaching base making the score. At this point the score was 4-0 Mariners, Nolasco was lifted, and Petit came in and stopped the bleeding.
It is notable to say here, though, that Nolasco was taken to the clubhouse in the bottom of the fourth inning, giving us all an injury scare heart attack. Luckily, it turned out to be nothing and Nolasco continued to pitch; Nagy and Scioscia might have tried to correct Nolasco’s form to stop him from giving up DINGERZ, but it clearly didn’t work.
Update: Nolasco had cramping in his calf. /feel free to panic now, k?
In any case, by the time the top of the sixth came around the Angels offense was out to get some sweet, sweet revenge. Kole Calhoun ripped a hustle double to right field and Trout blasted an incredible bomb off Iwakuma to straightaway center to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games.
Pujols followed with a single, a Valbuena blooper to right put runners on first and third with Pujols jokingly flashing his hot wheels on the bases. Andrelton Simmons got robbed of a well-hit, 3-run HR by an incredible catch by Guillermo Heredia, though Pujols scored on the sacrifice fly, cutting the deficit to one run. A Ben Revere opposite field single put runners on first and third, and a Cliff Pennington opposite field single tied up the game. Cliff friggin’ Pennington! Yunel Escobar followed with a double off the center field wall, making the lead 6-4 for our Team of Destiny Angels.
Petit and Alvarez each went another scoreless but Blake Parker ran into trouble in the eighth inning. Two ground balls sneaked through the infield to make it first and second with one out, and a ball hit straight to Cliff Pennington should have been a double play. Instead, Pennington unfathomably tossed it to first for the out instead of second (where Simmons was waiting at the 2b bag) leading two runs to score when the next hitter hit a bloop single to right field. Somewhere down the line, Taylor Motter was walked (why, Parker, why?), and a Dyson double and Segura single (that Escobar should have caught) blew the game open for the Mariners to lead once again by the score of 8-6.
The game felt like it was over for the Halos, but it wasn’t. At least not quite yet.
In the top of the ninth, Kole Calhoun followed up with an encore of last night with another solo DINGER off Edwin Diaz. Diaz lost command and hit Trout on his elbow guard to bring up Albert Pujols, who struck out on a hard slider.
There were bright spots, though! Pennington had a multi-hit game, Simmons nearly had a 3-run jack, Escobar got back on track, and the box score was lit up. The flip side? Nolasco struggled with giving up hard contact and Blake Parker encountered his first buttercup experience (who wasn’t helped by his defense tonight). It was a game where the Team of Destiny almost prevailed, but didn’t. Both teams fought their hearts out, but the story was flipped as the Angels’ hearts were the ones ripped out this time.