M’s starter retires only three of his first 15 batters
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Rookie Brandon Maurer is going through some growing pains, and the Seattle Mariners are feeling ill, too.
Maurer lasted just three innings while making his first major league start near his hometown, and the Mariners fell 7-1 to the Los Angeles Angels for their season-worst sixth consecutive loss.
“Brandon’s learning so much and he’s going through what every young pitcher has to go through,” manager Eric Wedge said. “He’s going to be a heck of a big league pitcher once he figures all this out. Once he learns from it, he’ll be better — physically, fundamentally, mentally and emotionally — and all those things will settle in for him. A young starting pitcher has to go through a lot of that, and he’s right in the middle of it.”
Maurer (2-6), who was born in Newport Beach and played his high school ball a few miles away from Angel Stadium, pitched 6 1-3 innings in a 6-0 win against Los Angeles on April 25 at Seattle. But this one was much different.
Less than 24 hours after the Angels cruised to a 12-0 victory for their most lopsided shutout win ever against Seattle, Maurer retired only three of his first 15 batters and trailed 6-0 after 47 pitches.
Los Angeles scored five in the first on Josh Hamilton’s two-run single, Alberto Callaspo’s two-run double and an RBI single by Hank Conger. It could have been worse for Maurer, but Erick Aybar was thrown out trying to steal second after drawing a leadoff walk.
Mike Trout, coming off his first career cycle, tripled in the second for his sixth consecutive hit and scored on a single by Albert Pujols. Aybar made it 7-0 with an RBI single in the third.
That was the last inning for Maurer, who was charged with seven runs and 11 hits. The 22-year-old right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.50 ERA in his last four starts.
“I didn’t get the sense that he was over-amped,” Wedge said. “I know he gets frustrated from time and he’s hard on himself. Those are just young emotional things that you have to go through, but he’s got to get a better feel for how to point that in the right direction. I love the way he competes. His stuff is real good big league stuff, across the board.”
The Mariners’ 2-7 road trip, which included a four-game sweep by Wedge’s former Cleveland club, left them seven games under .500. After the game, some of the veterans initiated a closed-door clubhouse meeting.
“We just felt that it was a good time for it. It was a necessary thing to do,” said outfielder Raul Ibanez, who is in his third stint with the Mariners. “It’s important to remember all the good stuff that’s happened with us. I think we’ve got a good group of guys, guys that are going to fight and guys that are going to scratch and claw. So we’re going to be all right.”
The Mariners scored their first run against C.J. Wilson (4-3) when Brendan Ryan came home on a groundout by Michael Saunders in the eighth. That’s all that prevented them from getting shut out for the third time in four games.
“There’s no panic. I mean, panic’s not in my vocabulary, and it better not be in theirs,” Wedge said. “The coolest cat wins. We’re two series removed from winning five out of six series — and even then we didn’t feel like we were the ballclub we feel like could still be. So it’s all right there for us. We just have to go out and take it.”
Wilson struck out 10 in eight innings, allowing six hits in his longest outing since June 8, 2012 — when he also went eight innings in a 7-2 interleague victory at Colorado. The left-hander won for the first time since May 1 at Oakland after losing his previous three starts, including back-to-back 3-0 decisions against Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox.
“Offensively, we never really got anything going here,” Wedge said. “These guys worked real hard to get back to .500, and got within a game. Then we ran into a buzzsaw in Cleveland and had a couple of tough days here. But we’re still a good ballclub and we’re going to continue to get better. We have not even come close to hitting our stride yet.”
Mariners 1B-DH Kendrys Morales, whom the Angels traded away last December for LHP Jason Vargas, got his 500th career hit in the first inning on a single through the box and finished the day 3 for 4 with a double. … Trout, last season’s AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP runner-up, is batting .359 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in his last 21 games since going 1 for 8 in a 19-inning loss at Oakland on April 29. He has seven hits in his last 16 at-bats, but has struck out looking seven times during that stretch.
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