September 3, 2012 in Sports

Montero’s blast propels Mariners

Rookie catcher continues to haunt Angels ace Weaver with fourth home run off him in nine career at-bats
 
Associated Press photo

M’s Jesus Montero points skyward after solo home run.
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE – Jesus Montero eschewed any technical explanation for his ongoing success against Jered Weaver.

“I get lucky,” Montero said.

If that’s true, then maybe Montero should be playing the lottery.

Montero homered for the fourth time in nine career at-bats against the Angels ace, helping the Seattle Mariners beat Los Angeles 2-1 Sunday.

Hisashi Iwakuma pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings and Carlos Peguero hit a solo homer off Weaver, too, to snap the Angels’ five-game winning streak.

Montero actually did get more detailed in explaining how he hits one of baseball’s best pitchers. He said he’s always looking to go the opposite way against Weaver, who throws across his body.

The right-handed Montero blooped a single to right field in the second. In the fourth, his 15th home run of the season cleared the fence in left-center.

Only Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez have more home runs (five) against Weaver, but needed 25 and 24 at-bats, respectively, to do it.

Weaver (16-4) was pulled with two runners on base in the sixth. He threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and walking four.

Peguero hit his second homer of the season in the fifth, a high-arcing shot to right field, a day after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma.

Two batters later, Dustin Ackley’s line drive struck Weaver in the right arm for an infield hit. Weaver tested his pitching arm with two warmups and remained in the game.

Iwakuma (6-3) mixed his pitches all afternoon, striking out seven without a walk while giving up five hits.

“I felt like he took control of the ballgame right away from the first pitch on,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said.

Josh Kinney relieved Iwakuma with two runners on in the eighth and retired Mike Trout and Torii Hunter on fly balls. The Angels were 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

“I was just going to make him hit the ball the other way instead of try and get perfect and punch him out,” Kinney said of Trout. “I wasn’t going to let him pull the ball on me. You’ve got to respect the kid. The kid’s tough.”

Tom Wilhelmsen allowed a run in the ninth when Howie Kendrick singled home pinch-runner Vernon Wells, but retired Erick Aybar to convert his 22nd save in 25 tries.

Albert Pujols’ fourth-inning double extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He moved to third on a grounder, but Mark Trumbo struck out. Trumbo struck out three times and is hitting .198 with three home runs since Aug. 1.

Notes

The Mariners are in the midst of playing three consecutive home day games at Safeco Field for the first time since Sept. 4-6, 1999, against the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox come to Seattle today for a Labor Day matinee. … Seattle center fielder Franklin Gutierrez has not made an error in 296 consecutive games.

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