Felix Hernandez pitched eight innings of four-hit ball to win at Angel Stadium for the first time since 2006, and the Seattle Mariners snapped a five-game skid and slowed the Los Angeles Angels’ playoff surge with a 2-1 victory Tuesday night.
Justin Smoak and Kyle Seager scored unearned runs for the Mariners, who had lost 18 of their last 21 games at Angel Stadium before Hernandez (14-11) outdueled Ervin Santana and silenced the Angels’ improved lineup for his sixth victory in eight starts.
Alberto Callaspo drove in an unearned run for the Angels, who committed four errors and dropped 3 1/2 games behind Texas in the A.L. West standings. The loss was just the Angels’ second at home since Aug. 17.
The Rangers pounded Tampa Bay 8-0 earlier Tuesday. Los Angeles was a season-high 13 games over .500 after Monday’s win over the Mariners, but still faces an uphill climb in the regular season’s final three weeks to make the playoffs for the seventh time in 10 seasons.
Hernandez improbably hadn’t won in Anaheim since June 11, 2006 — also his first career complete game. He has just six victories in 25 career starts against the Mariners’ division rivals, but after failing to beat the Angels at all since Sept. 29, 2009, Hernandez has two wins over Los Angeles in seven days.
On Aug. 31 in Seattle, Hernandez finally beat the Angels for the first time in nine tries, pitching a five-hitter and getting a 2-1 win on a fortunate two-out, two-run double in the eighth inning by Mike Carp. He was nearly as sharp in Anaheim, striking out seven and giving up two walks.
Santana (11-10) yielded seven hits and two walks over six muddled innings in his 200th career start for the Angels, losing for just the second time in 13 starts. Although he didn’t give up an earned run, he allowed a baserunner in every inning, and his usually sure-handed teammates weren’t much help.
Seattle loaded the bases with nobody out in the second inning after two Los Angeles errors, but managed just one run on Trayvon Robinson’s sacrifice fly. Seager then reached on an error in the fourth inning and eventually scored on Michael Saunders’ grounder.
Los Angeles scored in the sixth when Torii Hunter singled, advanced on Hernandez’s throwing error and scored on Callaspo’s single off the second-base bag.
After Hernandez retired the final seven batters he faced, Brandon League pitched the ninth for his 33rd save in 38 chances.
Los Angeles failed to homer for just the fourth time in its last 28 games. … Hernandez made his 202nd career start, tying Kelvim Escobar for fifth-most in major league history by a Venezuelan pitcher. Freddy Garcia holds the record with 324 starts. … RF Hunter made a sprinting catch at his shoetops, followed by a barrel roll, to strand two Seattle runners in the fifth inning. Hunter won nine Gold Gloves in center field before yielding the position to Peter Bourjos this season. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle’s 10-time Gold Glover in right field, then followed up Hunter’s grab with a leaping catch near the wall on Vernon Wells’ liner moments later. … Angels 2B Howie Kendrick and OF Mike Trout got a day off from the starting lineup, but both appeared in the game.
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