Angels 4, Mariners 2
Hideki Matsui knew immediately when he turned on Jason Vargas’
belt-high fastball that he didn’t quite get all of it.
So Matsui watched, closely, as he trotted down toward first
base, waiting to see if Ichiro Suzuki was going to climb the fence
and rob his countryman.
”It might have been front page,” Matsui said about the
possible reaction in Japan.
Instead, Suzuki couldn’t quite get his glove on Matsui’s drive,
a two-run homer in the seventh inning that propelled the Los
Angeles Angels to a 4-2 win over the Mariners on Wednesday
Slumping against lefties most of the season – hitting just .203
entering the game – Matsui hit his 18th homer of the season to give
the Angels the lead. Matsui now has three career hits off Vargas
and all three are homers.
”He’s the type of pitcher that pitches well to both sides of
the plate. The pitches I’ve hit against him were basically mistake
pitches that really caught the big part of the plate,” Matsui said
through an interpreter. ”I was just able to put a good swing on
After watching Seattle center fielder Franklin Gutierrez rob
Howie Kendrick of a homer an inning earlier, the entire Angels
dugout watched with a little trepidation as Suzuki climbed the
”You never know. They’ve got an athletic outfield and Ichiro
has done it before,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”It was
Matsui’s homer helped make a winner out of Trevor Bell, who
picked up his first win of 2010 as a starter. Bell (2-4) threw six
innings and gave up nine hits but just two runs against the
Mariners punchless offense.
Hard-throwing righty Jordan Walden took over in the seventh and
hit 100 mph several times on the stadium radar gun, giving up just
Suzuki’s 50th infield single of the season. Kevin Jepsen rebounded
from his blown save loss a night earlier by striking out a pair in
the eighth and Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his eighth
save in 11 chances.
Matsui had walked and grounded out in his previous two at-bats
Vargas’ 0-1 fastball was waist high and Matsui didn’t miss. He
previously homered off Vargas in July 2009 in New York while still
playing for the Yankees and earlier this season in Seattle.
Vargas (9-8) gave up just four hits in seven innings, pitching
at least six innings for the ninth time in his last 11 starts. He
struck out four and walked two.
”I’m frustrated. I feel like I’m smarter than that. He is
definitely a guy that can change the game,” Vargas said. ”I was
trying to throw it in to have him swing at it. That is a spot we
have pitched him earlier this year and he hasn’t got to it. In a
big situation he did.”
Alberto Callaspo added a solo homer with two outs in the eighth
off reliever Sean White, curling it just inside the right-field
Gutierrez drove in the Mariners’ first run with an RBI single in
the third. His double-play grounder scored another in the fifth for
a 2-1 lead.
But it was his catch in the sixth that grabbed everyone’s
attention. With two outs, Kendrick hit a drive about 400 feet.
Gutierrez never slowed his stride, sprinting all the way to the
warning track and then timing his jump to snag the drive just above
the yellow line at the top of the wall. Vargas tipped his cap,
while many of the sparse crowd at Safeco Field gave Gutierrez a
Bell became a starter for the Angels in late July, while still
mixing in appearances out of the bullpen. Wednesday was his sixth
start and backed up the promise the Angels saw in his last start
when Bell went seven innings and gave up just two runs in a loss to
Bell struck out six and walked none in his seven innings. More
important, he escaped jams with runners in scoring position in four
of the first five innings. Seattle left eight on base.
”They definitely had some opportunities and he made some
pitches to get out,” Scioscia said. ”He showed us a lot out
there. He bent a little bit but didn’t break.”
NOTES: The Angels are now 12-4 against Seattle this season and
went 7-2 at Safeco Field. … Gutierrez made another fine running
catch at the wall in the ninth inning on Mike Napoli’s drive. …
Seattle has extended its minor league agreements with Double-A West
Tenn and Pulaski in the rookie Appalachian League.