SEATTLE - Nine-time Gold Glover Torri Hunter lost Carlos Peguero’s fly ball with two outs in the ninth inning in the sun, allowing Jack Cust to score and give the Seattle Mariners a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday afternoon.
Seattle swept the brief two-game series in unusual fashion. Cust started the ninth with a check-swing dribbler up the third base line off reliever Scott Downs (1-1) that beat the Angels defensive shift.
Adam Kennedy’s sacrifice bunt moved Cust to second and he advanced to third on Luis Rodriguez’s ground out to first.
Peguero, who had at least a double taken away by Hunter in the seventh inning with a great catch, then hit a fly ball to left-center field. Hunter was in position but then lost the ball in the bright sun and it fell in for a hit to score Cust.
David Pauley (2-0) worked one inning of relief for starter Doug Fister to pick up the win. Fister went eight strong innings, giving up just a solo homer to the Angels’ Howie Kendrick.
Los Angeles starter Dan Haren also went eight innings, allowing just three hits and one run to the Mariners.
After striking out Hunter to begin the fourth, Fister left a changeup over the middle of the plate that Kendrick drove just over the hand-operated scoreboard in left field. It was the Angels’ first run since the eighth inning on Monday night in Oakland, a span of 24 innings.
But Fister didn’t fold, bouncing back to retire 13 of the final 17 batters he faced. He gave up a leadoff double to Alexi Amarista in the fifth and later walked Bobby Abreu, but got Maicer Izturis to ground into a double play to end that threat.
Fister also escaped a jam in the second after Hank Conger’s two-out double put runners on second and third, only to see Mark Trumbo fly out to end the inning.
In its brief four-game homestand, Seattle’s starters were brilliant. Michael Pineda, Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas and Fister all worked at least seven innings — 30 total between the foursome — and allowed a combined three earned runs.
In 15 games this month, Mariners starters have gone at least seven innings 11 times.
Seattle’s first run came in the fifth when it finally got a hit off Haren, who tossed four hitless innings before giving up Rodriguez’s leadoff double in the fifth. Rodriguez advanced to third and scored on Chris Gimenez’s fly ball to center field that was just deep enough. Hunter, making his first start of the season in center, made a perfect one-hop throw to Conger at the plate, but Rodriguez slid just under the tag and was called safe by home plate umpire Jerry Meals. Haren yelled and pumped his first in disgust at the close call.