Baseball / Sports

Mariners edge Angels in 12 innings, 3-2

ANAHEIM, Calif.--Not many runs were expected. Not many runs were scored. With All-Star starting pitcher Felix Hernandez and snubbed All-Star Garrett Richards matching up Saturday night, hitters for both the Mariners and Angels were in for a long and frustrating night.

Both pitchers delivered outstanding outings, allowing just a run each and a combined five hits in 15 innings pitched. Neither got a win for their efforts.

Why?

After playing 16 innings Friday night, the two teams felt that nine innings still weren't enough to decide a winner again. Instead, they battled for 12 innings Saturday with the Mariners finally prevailing, 3-2.

"Our guys weren't tired, we were resilient," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.

But don't expect any extra celebration for the 12-inning victory from McClendon, much the way he wouldn't allow any added agony after the 16-inning defeat Friday.

"Yeah, we won a ballgame," he said. "I mean really. I say this all the time. But it's hard to win games at this level, regardless of who you are playing. We just happen to be playing the team with the second-best record in baseball. Just like last night, we've got about five more minutes and then we'll turn the page for tomorrow."

Seattle finally broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the 12th Kyle Seager led off with a double to left center off of lefty sidearm specialist Joe Thatcher and Logan Morrison followed with a run-scoring double down the left-field line.

"It felt really good," Morrison said. "It's my first hit against the Angels this year."

The Mariners (52-45) added to their lead. Endy Chavez put down a perfect infield bunt that hugged the line and somehow stayed fair for a hit. Justin Smoak later added an infield single with bases loaded to drive in an insurance run.

"Yeah, we really crushed the ball there, didn't we?" McClendon joked.

That extra run would loom large.

In the bottom of the 12th, David Freese hit the second pitch he saw from Dominic Leone out of the park for a solo home run to cut the lead to one run. But Charlie Furbush came on to get final three outs for the first save of his career. Leone still got the victory to improve 3-2.

"It was two great ball teams going at it inning by inning," Furbush said. "I was just trying to go pitch by pitch. And I was fortunate to reap the benefits for my first save."

The Mariners have played 28 innings and nine hours and 20 minutes of baseball the past two days.

The starting duel Saturday lived up to its expectations.

Richards was perfect through five innings, and dominated Mariners hitters, striking out five batters and needing less than 70 pitches to do it.

But Dustin Ackley broke up the perfect game, lashing a double into the gap in left center to start the sixth inning. Brad Miller moved him to third with some solid situational hitting, bouncing a hard ground ball to first baseman Albert Pujols.

With runs likely scarce, Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia played the Angels' infield in on the grass to try and have a play on the runner at home. That helped Jesus Sucre, who was able to drop a soft line drive over shortstop John McDonald's head into left field to score Ackley. Had the Angels been playing at normal depth, McDonald probably catches that liner in the air. Instead, Seattle had a 1-0 lead.

But that lead wouldn't hold. Hernandez was a prime part of the undoing. Pujols battled him for an 11-pitch leadoff walk to start the bottom of the seventh.

"I threw everything at him," Hernandez said. "I was ready to grab the rosin bag and throw it to him. It was a great at-bat."

Josh Hamilton followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. It was the fourth walk of the game for Hernandez -- a season high.

"I was not happy," Hernandez said. "That's what gets me in trouble when I walk people like that."

Then things got a little goofy. Howie Kendrick hit a soft ground ball up the middle. Both Miller at shortstop and second baseman Robinson Cano converged on it. Miller went to second thinking Cano would grab it and flip to him. Cano pulled back thinking Miller would grab it, step on second and throw to first.

Instead, Miller had to make a late dive for the ball and then made the poor decision to try and throw to first from his knees when he had no play. The ball bounced past Morrison and allowed the slow-footed Pujols to score.

Hernandez wouldn't let the misfortune slow him down. He got Freese to hit into a fielder's choice that allowed Seager to get Hamilton out at third. Hernandez then got Efren Navarro to ground out and struck out Chris Iannetta to end the inning and his outing.

"After the game, he said 'That's my bad, skip,'" McClendon said. "I asked what he mean, and he said, ËśWell, I walked two guys in a row.' That's how good the guy is."

Hernandez pitched seven innings, giving up one unearned run on two hits with four walks and nine strikeouts on 114 pitches. It was his 12th consecutive start that he pitched seven or more innings and allowed two runs or fewer -- it tied an American League record also held by Albert "Chief" Bender of the Philadelphia Athletics, who accomplished the feat in 1907. But Hernandez didn't have a win to show for it.

"I just wanted to get my team the win," he said. "We needed this win.

Richards was done after eight innings and 98 pitches, allowing the one run on three hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.

(c)2014 The Seattle Times

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