Mariners 2, Angels 1
Jack Cust saw the ball come off Carlos Peguero’s bat and thought
at the very least he should touch home plate considering there were
two outs in the ninth inning, even if Peguero’s fly ball likely
meant extra innings.
Then when the most unlikely of events happened, especially with
a nine-time Gold Glove winner standing in center field, Seattle’s
designated hitter went back and tapped the plate one more time as
the winning run, just to be sure.
No need to add any more wackiness to an already unusual
Peguero’s fly ball would have sent the game to the 10th inning
on Thursday afternoon. But Los Angeles center fielder Torii Hunter
could not track the ball and it fell onto the outfield grass,
giving the Mariners an unlikely sun-aided 2-1 win over the
Seattle used a check-swing infield single by Cust off Angels
reliever Scott Downs (1-1), a sacrifice bunt by Adam Kennedy and
Peguero’s single to take both games of the brief two-game set with
the Angels and hand Los Angeles a fifth straight loss.
And it’ll be remembered as one of the oddest endings either team
has been associated with.
”I saw it off the bat and ran after it till it’s highest point
and didn’t see it anymore. I just battled, tried to find it, stand
there as long as I could, put my glove where I thought it would
fall in,” Hunter said. ”I just couldn’t see it. You can’t catch
what you can’t see.”
Losing a ball in the sun isn’t new for Hunter, who made a
tremendous leaping grab while crashing into the center field wall
to rob Peguero of at least a double in the seventh inning.
”But (I’ve) never lost the ball to lose the game,” Hunter
said. ”That stings even more.”
For Peguero, a rookie the Mariners hope could be the answer to
their lack of stability in left field, the pounding he took from
his teammate for the odd game-wining hit was welcomed.
”Something happened, a good something happened,” Peguero
If anyone knows what Hunter faced on Peguero’s fly ball, it was
Seattle’s Michael Saunders. In the top of the ninth, Saunders
danced all over center field, trying to fight off the sun to catch
a fly ball by Alberto Callaspo. That was the most obvious example
of Saunders struggling with the sun, but it was a problem all
”For the middle to late (innings) it was brutal. I was doing
the two-step out there on one of them. I lost it for a good two to
three seconds probably,” Saunders said. ”Luckily it came out of
the sun for me. Obviously, you saw one of the greatest out there
and he lost it in the sun. It was awful.”
David Pauley (2-0) got the win for Seattle, pitching the ninth
inning after Doug Fister went eight innings and continued a run of
impressive performances by the Mariners starting rotation. Fister
went eight innings, giving up six hits and one run.
In its brief four-game homestand, Seattle’s starters were
brilliant. Michael Pineda, Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas and Fister
all worked at least seven innings – 30 total between the foursome –
and allowed a combined three earned runs.
In 15 games this month, Mariners starters have gone at least
seven innings 11 times.
”It’s been outstanding. That’s the only word I can think of,”
Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ”Consistently getting us deep
into ball games. Each starter focusing on what they need to do and
doing their job and doing the work in between starts so when they
go out there they are giving themselves an opportunity to be at
Fister’s only run allowed came in the fourth when he left a
changeup over the middle of the plate that Howie Kendrick drove
just over the hand-operated scoreboard in left field. It was the
Angels’ first run since the eighth inning on Monday night in
Oakland, a span of 24 innings.
But Fister didn’t fold, bouncing back to retire 13 of the final
17 batters he faced. He gave up a leadoff double to Alexi Amarista
in the fifth and later walked Bobby Abreu, but got Maicer Izturis
to ground into a double play to end that threat.
Fister also escaped a jam in the second after Hank Conger’s
two-out double put runners on second and third, only to see Mark
Trumbo fly out to end the inning.
Seattle’s other run came when Luis Rodriguez doubled to start
the fifth, the Mariners first hit off Angels’ starter Dan Haren.
Rodriguez scored on Chris Gimenez’s sacrifice fly, barely beating
Hunter’s throw from center field.
Haren also went eight innings and allowed just three hits.
NOTES: Hunter has spent most of the season in right field, but
was moved to center to give Peter Bourjos a day off. ”I think he
knows the neighborhood,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia joked before
Thursday’s game. ”I heard he’s played it before so we’ll give him
a shot.” … Seattle begins interleague play on Friday with a
three-game weekend series in San Diego. The Angels go home to host
Atlanta. … Kendrick had his 19th multi-hit game and leads the
American League. He left in the bottom of the ninth inning with
tightness in his right hamstring. He was thrown out trying to steal
second in the top of the inning.