Mike Leake gets three outs away from a perfect game as Mariners club Angels

Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times on

Published in Baseball

SEATTLE -- One week after perhaps the most imperfect start of Mike Leake's career, he flirted with perfection.

Leake retired the first 24 batters he faced, Daniel Vogelbach hit a pair of three-run homers and the Seattle Mariners defeated the Los Angeles Angels 10-0 on Friday night at T-Mobile Park.

They were the same Angels that seven days earlier had no-hit the Mariners in a 13-0 win, with Leake giving up seven runs -- four earned -- in two-thirds of an inning, the shortest start of his 10-year big-league career.

So what happened this Friday? A turnaround that was hard to fathom, even if the perfect bid ended when Luis Rengifo hit a grounder through the right side to end the perfect game and no-hit bid.

The only pity was that fans could not see all of the Angels' zeros as the main videoboard was dark, thanks to a Seattle City cable failure that knocked out power to it.

Leake's troubles last week in the Mariners' first game back from the All-Star break were a bit overshadowed because the Mariners went without a hit. But now, that seems like a rare blip for Leake, an innings-eater who can almost always be counted on to go at least five innings.

Leake undoubtedly improved his trade value with the July 31 trading deadline rapidly approaching, but no one was thinking ahead in this game. This was all about the moment.

The Mariners were pretty silent on offense until the fourth inning, when Jaime Barria walked the first two batters and Vogelbach made the Angels pitcher pay. Vogelbach hit a shot into the right-center stands for a three-run homer.

And the fun continued, with the Mariners getting three more consecutive hits, the last of those being a two-run single by Tom Murphy to make it 5-0.


Vogelbach hit his second three-run homer of the game in the fifth inning, another towering blast to right-center, to make it 8-0, leaving little doubt which team would win.

Still, the suspense continued to build with each hitter Leake retired. Even with the videoboard out, everyone at the ballpark seemed clued in on what Leake was doing by the seventh inning as the cheers got louder with each out.

The crowd of 19,976 was on its feet as Leake cruised through the eighth inning.

The excitement was at a 10 to start the ninth, but it quickly ended when Rengifo singled. Leake got a well-deserved huge ovation, then finished off the shutout.

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