ANAHEIM, Calif. – The bees swarmed the field in the third inning, moving to the outfield walls while players and fans scattered before them. They stuck around for a couple of innings before a fan volunteer and a fire extinguisher persuaded them to buzz off.
They missed the finish of a gritty victory by the Seattle Mariners and a streak-snapping loss for C.J. Wilson.
Justin Smoak hit a tiebreaking two-run homer, Felix Hernandez had 10 strikeouts in a four-inning start and the Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Sunday in a game delayed twice by bees.
Both teams retreated to their dugouts during an initial 23-minute delay. The bees roamed over the right side of the field and eventually hovered near the ficus trees beyond the wall in center.
“They started coming out of the stands,” said Franklin Gutierrez, the Mariners’ right fielder. “I saw (fans) going out, and then the bees started coming to right field. That was scary.”
Gutierrez doesn’t know if he’s allergic to bee stings, “but I just started running away just in case.”
The Angels had two runners on and two outs in the third when the bees interrupted.
Most fans stayed in their seats as a few brave grounds crew members and crowd volunteers attempted to deter the swarm with a broom, a Gatorade cooler and a cardboard box.
“That dude just came out of the stands and said ‘It’s OK. I’m a beekeeper,”’ Wilson said. “It was like a ‘Seinfeld’ episode. Do you tip a bee guy? Throw him a 20? I don’t carry cash on me when I’m pitching, so it wouldn’t have been me.”
Hernandez escaped a bases-loaded jam when the game resumed, but there was another short delay in the fourth when Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun began swatting at more bees in the outfield.
Despite the bees’ rude interruptions, Hernandez set a major league record for strikeouts in a four-inning start. King Felix hadn’t pitched in 20 days since leaving a loss at Kansas City on Sept. 2 with a strained oblique muscle.
Hernandez walked four and gave up a run in the Angels’ second-inning rally, but otherwise looked sharp in his return to the rotation.
Oliver Perez (3-3) struck out the side in the fifth inning after relieving Hernandez. Danny Farquhar, the Mariners’ fifth reliever, pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 19 chances.
Mike Zunino had an early RBI double in just the third win in 14 games for the Mariners.
Wilson (17-7) pitched eight-hit ball into the ninth inning but lost for the first time since July 5 against Boston, ending a streak that saw him go 9-0 over 13 starts.
Wilson had two outs and two strikes before Smoak lifted a tailing fly into the short stands down the left-field line. The homer was Smoak’s 18th this season, but his first batting right-handed.