ANAHEIM, Calif. – Angels manager Mike Scioscia bristled at the notion that his team had it easy this year.
The AL West champions won another close game Sunday when Chone Figgins hit an RBI single in the ninth inning Sunday, giving Los Angeles a 4-3 win over Seattle and a four-game sweep.
The Angels, who clinched the division with 2 1/2 weeks left, have won 21 times in their final at-bat. Overall, they’ve played 49 games decided by one run.
“From the first day of spring training to where we are now, nothing about this season has been easy or in any remote sense would be called a walkover,” Scioscia said. “I’ve been with these guys every day, and we’ve had tough games every night.”
Seattle has lost eight of 11 following a 7-1 spurt, and is a season-worst 34 1/2 games out of first place. The Mariners have to win six of their final 14 games to avoid their fourth 100-loss season and first since 1983.
Ninth-place hitter Sean Rodriguez tripled just beyond the reach of Ichiro Suzuki with one out in the ninth. Figgins followed with a drive off the right-field wall against Roy Corcoran (5-1) for his third game-ending hit this season.
Seattle manager Jim Riggleman employed a five-man infield against Figgins, with Ichiro as the extra glove stationed in front of second base.
“That was surprising. I don’t think Ichiro really wanted to become an infielder, because he was coming in kind of slow,” Figgins said. “I was just trying to hit a fly ball anywhere.”
Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre, scheduled to undergo surgery on his left wrist and left shoulder Thursday, played his final game of the season. He batted .266 in 143 games with 25 homers, and his 77 RBIs represented his lowest total in four seasons with Seattle.