SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners have owned the Los Angeles Angels to start this season, and some of the same ingredients were there Wednesday for that trend to continue.
A solid performance from the starting pitcher, Roenis Elias. A nice job by the bullpen in relief. And solid defensive work behind Seattle’s pitchers.
But there was one noticeable item missing: The Mariners’ offense couldn’t cash in. And because of that, Seattle lost 2-0 in front of 16,437 fans, snapping a four-game winning streak against the Angels this season.
Angels starter Garrett Richards never gave the Mariners much of an opportunity. He lasted seven innings, gave up only one hit, with three walks and he struck out six batters.
Elias was far from perfect, and he struggled with control at times. But he was able to maneuver his way through most jams and generally limited the damage.
The glaring exception to that came in the third inning. After Elias plunked the inning’s leadoff hitter, Albert Pujols smashed a two-run homer to left field that put the Angels in front 2-0.
But Elias pitched well enough to keep the Mariners in the game. In his two outings this season, he has combined to pitch 10 innings and has allowed only three runs.
The problem on this night wasn’t Elias, or the stable of relievers that manager Lloyd McClendon threw at the Angels after Elias departed following 91 pitches and five innings. No, the problem was an offense that didn’t string together hits or flip the score with home runs.
The Mariners’ offense, which scored at least eight runs in three of the four games against the Angels, couldn’t generate much of anything. In fact, the Angels allowed more Mariners to reach on errors (two) than the Mariners had hits (one).
The Mariners suffered their first shutout and didn’t have many threatening opportunities on the scoreboard. Their best chance came in the third inning, right after Pujols’ homer.
Abraham Almonte singled and Brad Miller reached when Angels shortstop John McDonald committed an error on a would-be double play. The Mariners couldn’t capitalize as Robinson Cano and Justin Smoak – their hottest hitters this season – grounded out and struck out, respectively.
It was the only inning in which the Mariners had a base runner advance beyond second base.
In the sixth and seventh innings, the Mariners’ leadoff hitter reached base, only to never advance beyond first base. Other than that, the opportunities were few and far between.
That’s not to say the Mariners didn’t hit the ball hard at times.
Corey Hart ripped a ball into the upper deck in left field, but it sailed foul. Kyle Seager ripped a drive to the warning track in center field in the fourth inning, and Mike Zunino also drove a ball to the warning track in center field in the fifth inning. But both times Angels center fielder Mike Trout was able to get under the ball for an out.
The Mariners struck out eight times. They had at least six hits in each of their first seven games.