Matt Palmer needed a lot of help from the offense and the bullpen, but he gave the Angels a chance to win yet again, and his teammates responded, lifting him to fifth victory against zero losses as the Angels beat the Mariners for the second night in row. The Angels pulled to within three games of the first place Rangers, and moved two games over .500 for the season. They seem to have righted the ship a bit after last week’s debacle in Arlington.
The offense got started early against Felix Hernandez. The first four batters reached base. Chone Figgins led the game off with a single and Maicer Izturis drew a walk. Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter followed with back to back RBI singles to give the Angels a 2-0 lead. It was gone by the second inning. Palmer served up a solo shot to Ken Griffey Jr. in the first inning, while Ronnie Cedeno touched him for a two run homer in the bottom of the second, giving the Mariners a 3-2 lead.
The Angels tied the game in the fourth inning on Howie Kendrick’s RBI single. The Mariners retook the lead on Ichiro’s fourth inning RBI double, but the Angels responded the next half inning with a little luck and two runs, the first on a wild pitch from King Felix. The took a 5-4 lead when a tailor made double play ball from Mike Napoli ducked under the glove of Jose Lopez and rolled into center field.
The Angels extended the lead and chased King Felix with Abreu’s two out double in the sixth inning. The Mariners clawed back to within one after Palmer allowed a lead off double to Kenji Johjima, who would later come around to score, in the sixth inning.
The Angels bullpen took over from there, as Bulger, Scot Shields, and Brian Fuentes worked four innings of scoreless relief, hopefully a sign that the bullpen is getting back on track.
Thoughts on the game:
- As I mentioned yesterday, I thought this was going to be a tough one for the Halos. The Mariners clearly had the edge in the pitching matchup, but the offense touched Hernandez for six runs, and the pitching staff made it hold up. The pendulum swings back to the Angels tonight, as Ervin Santana goes against Chris Jakubauskas.
- The bullpen was really phenomenal. Bulger, Shields, and Fuentes combined for four perfect innings, with nine of the twelve outs coming via the strikeout. Fuentes struck out the side in the ninth.
- Howie Kendrick had two hits, again showing signs of life. Unfortunately, he was inexplicably double off of first base when Chone Figgins hit a looping liner in the eighth inning. Baby steps.