SEATTLE – Hideki Matsui hit a two-out, two-run homer in the seventh inning, barely eluding the glove of Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki, and the Los Angeles Angels rallied for a 4-2 win over the Mariners on Wednesday.
Held to just two hits entering the seventh by Seattle starter Jason Vargas, the Angels got started with Mike Napoli’s leadoff double. Two outs later, Matsui jumped on an 0-1 fastball and got just enough for his 18th homer of the season. Suzuki climbed the right field fence, but couldn’t pull back Matsui’s drive.
It was Matsui’s third career hit off Vargas, all homers.
Trevor Bell (2-4) picked up his first win of 2010 as a starter, throwing six innings and giving up nine hits but just two runs.
Hard throwing righty Jordan Walden took over in the seventh and hit 100 mph several times on the stadium radar gun, giving up just Suzuki’s 50th infield single of the season. Kevin Jepsen rebounded from his blown save loss a night earlier by striking out a pair in the eighth and Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 11 chances.
Matsui had walked and grounded out in his previous two at-bats against Vargas, who was attempting to snap a two-game losing streak. Instead, his losing skid was extended thanks to one poorly placed pitch.
Matsui previously homered off Vargas last July in New York while still playing for the Yankees and earlier this season in Seattle.
Vargas (9-8) gave up just four hits in seven innings, pitching at least six innings for the ninth time in his last 11 starts. He struck out four and walked two.
Alberto Callaspo added a solo homer with two outs in the eighth off M’s reliever Sean White.
Franklin Gutierrez did a little of everything for Seattle in the losing effort. He drove in the M’s first run with an RBI single in the third, then helped plate another run in the fifth when Josh Wilson scored on Gutierrez’s double play ground out for a 2-1 Mariners lead.
An inning later, Gutierrez kept Seattle ahead, at the time. With two outs in the sixth, Howie Kendrick drove a 1-1 pitch from Vargas about 400 feet. Gutierrez never slowed his stride, sprinting all the way to the warning track and then timing his jump to snag the drive just above the yellow line at the top of the wall.
• Mariners right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley received good news during exploratory elbow surgery and does not need to undergo a full Tommy John ligament replacement operation.
E—J.Rivera (6), Napoli (11). LOB—Los Angeles 2, Seattle 8. 2B—Willits (6), Tor.Hunter (31), Napoli (21), F.Gutierrez (20), Kotchman (19), A.Moore (4). HR—H.Matsui (18), off J.Vargas; Callaspo (10), off White. RBIs—Callaspo (54), H.Kendrick (65), H.Matsui 2 (73), F.Gutierrez (51). SB—Figgins (34), M.Saunders (4). CS—F.Gutierrez (3). S—Figgins. RLISP—Seattle 6 (Jo.Lopez 2, Jo.Wilson, A.Moore 2, Branyan). RMU—Callaspo, H.Kendrick, J.Rivera. GIDP—F.Gutierrez. DP—Los Angeles 1 (Br.Wood, H.Kendrick, J.Rivera); Seattle 1 (Figgins).
|T.Bell W, 2-4||6||9||2||2||0||6||93||4.85|
|Walden H, 1||1||1||0||0||0||2||21||2.25|
|Jepsen H, 21||1||0||0||0||0||2||17||4.93|
|Rdny S, 8-11||1||0||0||0||0||2||20||3.79|
|J.Vargas L, 9-8||7||4||3||3||2||4||106||3.55|
T—2:39. A—17,515 (47,878).