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September 17, 2014 at 11:23 PM

Angels 5, Mariners 0 — shutout once again

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All the smiles were gone. The faces of the Mariners’ players were as blank as the visitors’ panels on the scoreboard at Angels Stadium

For the third time in 10 games, they were shutout. A night after scoring 13 runs, they couldn’t sniff, scratch or buy a run in a 5-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. It was the 18th time this season they were held scoreless in a game, adding another tally to their dubious club record.

And it was costly.

With the Royals beating Cy Young award candidate Chris Sale earlier on Wednesday night, Seattle (81-70) fell two games back in the race for the second wild card.

The lack of offense and a miscue in the outfield, helped spoil a brilliant pitchers’ duel between starters James Paxton and C.J. Wilson. The two left-handers carved up opposing hitters for the first six innings.

But with two outs in the seventh inning, Paxton’s six-inning cruise through the Angels’ lineup hit a speed bump and then crashed on a fielding mistake.

Howie Kendrick hit a soft ground ball through the right side for a one-out single. It seemed harmless enough.

But it became costly when Paxton left a 3-2 fastball up in the zone and over the middle of the plate to David Freese. The veteran right-hander laced a low line drive into right field.

Mariners’ right fielder Chris Denorfia got a decent jump on the sinking liner. But as he approached the ball it was clear he was caught in between trying to dive to catch it or fielding it on the hop to keep the runner from scoring. He did neither. The ball skipped past him all the way to the wall, allowing Kendrick to score from first base.

“It’s a tough play,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I’m sure he will probably tell you he should make that play.”

Indeed, Denorfia didn’t hide from the responsibility of the run.

“I know the situation there,” Denorfia said. “It’s risk-reward there and my job is to keep it in front of me. I took a bad angle right off the bat and got caught in between. I tried to do my best to get in front of it. It kind of skipped right by me. I let my team down tonight. I hope to get another chance and come through for them.

Everything fell apart from there.

Paxton intentionally walked Erick Aybar to put runners on first and second. He came back to strike out Chris Iannetta looking. With two outs, manager Lloyd McClendon went to reliable right-hander Danny Farquhar to face rookie right-handed hitter C.J. Chron.

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But the move backfired, Farquhar left a cut fastball on the inside half of the plate and Chron hit a towering blast off the rockpile in deep left-center for his 11th homer. The three-run homer put the game out of reach at 4-0.

“It was a back-up cutter,” Farquhar said. “I wish I had could have that one back. It was supposed to cut to the outside corner. It stayed middle in, right in his sweet spot.”

It was just the fourth homer Farquhar had given up in 65 2/3 innings pitched.

The Angels added another run to make it 5-0.

Paxton’s line of 6 2/3 innings pitched, three runs on four hits with a walk eight strikeouts didn’t show how dominant he was in the game.

Down 5-0, Mariners were done. They did little against Wilson for the seven innings and weren’t going to get five runs off an improved Angels’ bullpen.

Wilson tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just the one hit – a Justin Smoak single – with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Seattle’s best chance came in the seventh inning. Robinson Cano led off with an 11-pitch strikeout. While he didn’t get on base, the 11 pitches seemed to take a little out of Wilson. He walked Kendrys Morales moments later.

McClendon immediately replaced Morales with speedy pinch runner James Jones for obvious reasons.  After Kyle Seager struck out for the second out of the inning, Jones picked up his 26th stolen base of the season with Chris Denorfia at the plate. It was the first time a Mariners’ runner had reached second base in the game. Wilson walked Denorfia to bring Smoak to the plate. But the big first baseman couldn’t replicate his success. He popped out to right field to end the inning.


Quick note: As expected, Taijuan Walker will start on Friday night in Houston with Chris Young and Hisashi Iwakuma being bumped back a day.




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