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May 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM

M’s-Angels May 26: Final, Angels 5-3

Hey folks, Bud Withers sitting in for our regulars on a gorgeous day at Safeco Field. There’s only a hint of a breeze, maybe three or four MPH (so it probably won’t be blowing any of Albert Pujols’ drives back into the field of play).
After a couple of losses to the Angels that were vastly frustrating in their own way, the M’s try to right themselves behind their ace, Felix Hernandez.
A GOOD START FOR FELIX — Hernandez had a good opening inning, fanning Pujols on three pitches after a leadoff single by Mike Trout. Interesting that the Angels decided to test Hernandez and catcher Miguel Olivo right away, but Olivo gunned down Trout on the attempted steal with a perfect throw. Michael Saunders’ solid single with one out in the bottom half was followed by Ichiro’s hard-hit grounder to second for a 4-6-3 double play. After one, it’s scoreless.
Forgot to mention that, in case you’re not watching the game, it’s Turn Back the Clock day. The M’s are wearing old Seattle Rainiers uniforms, which look kind of cool. Oddly, it puts the Angels out of their usual red-themed unis, and in a gray-and-blue scheme.
These old-timey occasions are nothing new to baseball, but it reminds me of covering a Mariner series at old Milwaukee County Stadium maybe 15 years ago. It was a similar occasion, and I recall Junior Griffey cutting the sleeves on his uniform and styling for anybody who might come his way in the locker room (of course, he thought he looked pretty slick, and I really can’t argue). As I remember, the M’s hit like seven homers that night and beat the tar out of the Brewers. They could do that back then.
AFTER 2, STILL SCORELESS — Nobody has yet mustered anything resembling a scoring threat. The Angels’ Jerome Williams, 4-2 with a 3.74 ERA this year and owner of a 2-0 career record against the M’s (both last year), has allowed only Saunders’ hit.
A SHADOWY, SCORELESS TIE AFTER 3 — With the odd starting time of 4:15, the field is beginning to be bathed in shadows, always a challenge for hitters. As the fourth inning starts, the roof shadow has crept out to about eight feet in front of the plate, which means for awhile, pitches are going to be coming out of the light and into the darkness. If you played the under in this game, you’re looking good.
PUJOLS AT IT AGAIN — Pujols has just homered for the third straight game, the first time he’s done that since early June of last year with the Cardinals. He took what appeared to be a 2-1 breaking pitch that hung from Hernandez and rifled it deep into the sun-soaked stands just to the left of centerfield. One thing about Pujols’ homers, they’re impressive. After 3 1/2, Angels 1, Mariners 0.
A HEAD-SCRATCHING MISTAKE BY THE ANGELS . . . — With the M’s trailing 1-0 in the fifth, John Jaso doubled into the leftfield corner, only the M’s second hit off Jerome Williams. On Miguel Olivo’s routine grounder to short, Jaso broke for third, and maybe that violation of a cardinal baseball rule threw off shortstop Erick Aybar. He fired to third, too late to get Jaso, allowing Olivo to reach on a fielder’s choice. If he merely makes the routine play, it’s two outs and a man on third and Williams is positioned to get out of the inning unscathed. Instead, Mike Carp went down and got a pitch on the lower outside of the plate and guided it into rightfield for the tying single. Brendan Ryan popped to short right, but Dustin Ackley greeted Williams’ first pitch for a shot up the middle, scoring Olivo with the go-ahead run. If Aybar makes the expected play and everything had unfolded as it did, it would be a 1-1 tie, but the M’s instead have a 2-1 lead for Hernandez.
M’S HAVE SOME WORK TO DO — After six, it’s 5-3, Anaheim. Clearly, this isn’t vintage Felix Hernandez, as he surrendered Alberto Callaspo’s second career grand-slam in the top of the sixth, behind consecutive hits by Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick, and Erick Aybar’s sacrifice-bunt attempt that went for a bases-loading hit. Callaspo’s hit was the 10th off Hernandez, whose work is done for the night. In the bottom half of the inning, Justin Smoak got the M’s a run closer by hammering a solo homer to deep right-center.
M’S STILL TWO SHY — In the seventh, which the Angels began with ex-closer Jordan Walden on the mound, the M’s threatened but didn’t score. Walks to Mike Carp and Michael Saunders put two on with two out, but Ichiro took a called second strike on an appealing-looking fastball from Scott Downs, and then Downs induced him to hit a weak dribbler down the first-base line that Downs handled to keep LA on top, 5-3.
ONE LAST CHANCE FOR SEATTLEKyle Seager’s hit leading off the eighth brought the tying run to the plate for the M’s, but they couldn’t capitalize. Scott Downs got Justin Smoak swinging on a tantalizing curveball, blew a fastball by John Jaso, and then Ernesto Frieri got Miguel Olivo swinging on a high fastball, to leave it, LA 5, Seattle 3 after eight.
DOWN GOES SEATTLE — Frieri blew away Mike Carp, but walked Brendan Ryan. Then he got Dustin Ackley on Ackley’s fourth strikeout of the day, leaving it up to Michael Saunders. He flied to left to end it. Angels, 5-3.

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan

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