ANAHEIM, Calif. – At least Ian Snell was able to keep the Mariners from hitting the panic button for another 24 hours.
Things are dire indeed in Seattle’s bullpen, leading to the Mariners calling up Brandon Morrow from Triple-A on Wednesday so he can start Friday in Texas and leave Luke French available for long relief duty. Even that plan seemed too little by the first inning of Wednesday night’s 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, when it appeared a struggling Snell would not escape the opening frame.
But Snell, after yielding four first-inning runs, settled down and managed to make it into the sixth, sparing further demands on a bullpen that will be challenged to make it to season’s end.
The Mariners fought back on solo home runs by Kenji Johjima in the third inning and Jose Lopez in the sixth, both off Angels starter Jered Weaver. But the early hole dug by Snell, who threw 33 pitches in the first inning and got smacked around hard and often, was too deep for a sputtering Seattle attack to climb out of.
Juan Rivera closed out the scoring with a two-run homer to straightaway center off Jason Vargas in the eighth.
A crowd of 36,340 at Angel Stadium saw the Mariners drop their fourth straight game on this trip. All of a sudden, that .500 season that seemed assured only last week is now teetering again for a 72-68 team that has to face the Rangers in Texas after this series.
Ichiro Suzuki got a single in the third inning to pull four hits from a record ninth straight 200-hit season.
Morrow was called up even though general manager Jack Zduriencik and manager Don Wakamatsu had said 24 hours earlier that he would stay in Triple-A to pitch a playoff game Friday against the Sacramento River Cats.
But after Tuesday night’s latest mound disaster for reliever Miguel Batista, the team’s concerns about bullpen depth won out. Long reliever Chris Jakubauskas is battling stiffness in the back of his shoulder and will be held out of game action at least a few more days.
The bullpen is already short-handed from the loss of late-inning reliever Sean White, who has a sore right shoulder. Wakamatsu said he has no idea how long White will be out.
Angels 6, Mariners 3
|Griffey Jr. dh||4||0||0||0||0||1||.215|
LOB—Seattle 7, Los Angeles 5. 2B—Beltre (23), Carp (2), Jo.Wilson (4), Guerrero (13), K.Morales (40). HR—Johjima (8), off Jer.Weaver; Jo.Lopez (23), off Jer.Weaver; J.Rivera (22), off J.Vargas. RBIs—Jo.Lopez (85), Johjima (21), M.Sweeney (30), Tor.Hunter (78), K.Morales 3 (98), J.Rivera 2 (78). RLISP—Seattle 4 (Hall 2, I.Suzuki 2); Los Angeles 2 (E.Aybar, Tor.Hunter). RMU—Griffey Jr., Beltre, M.Sweeney, M.Izturis, B.Abreu. GIDP—Figgins. DP—Seattle 2 (Jo.Wilson, Jo.Lopez, Carp), (Beltre, Jo.Lopez).
|Snell L, 4-2||5 1/3||6||4||4||5||2||5.13|
|Jer.Weaver W, 15-5||6 1/3||7||2||2||0||8||3.76|
|Oliver H, 16||2/3||0||0||0||0||1||2.80|
|Jepsen H, 13||1||1||0||0||0||2||4.50|
|Fuentes S, 40-46||1||0||0||0||0||0||3.99|
T—2:44. A—36,340 (45,257).
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