ANAHEIM, Calif. — The translation of the Biblical name Eliezer means “God is help,” and the Mariners for a while did indeed receive some divine-looking intervention from their new catcher.
Eliezer Alfonzo looked unworldly at the plate in the early going of Sunday afternoon’s series finale, clubbing a three-run homer, managing three hits his first three times up, driving in four and scoring twice.
But the Mariners needed even more help than that in a 9-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, especially in a ninth inning that saw closer David Aardsma fail to corral a double-play grounder before serving up a decisive three-run homer.
Howie Kendrick’s blast over the wall in right-center, a second straight walkoff blast yielded by Seattle’s bullpen, seemed a foregone conclusion in a game the Mariners spent five innings frittering away.
“We’ve got to be able to rely on our bullpen for more than six runs (allowed),” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said in a stunned postgame clubhouse.
Despite rolling up a 7-2 lead by the fifth inning, the Mariners never looked comfortable.
In the ninth Aardsma walked Hideki Matsui leading off – one of nine walks given up by Mariners pitchers – then, with one out, failed to snag a hard shot back to the mound by Mike Napoli. If he’d caught the ball, Aardsma had a shot at a game-ending double play.
Aardsma allowed a second runner, then saw Kendrick destroy his full-count offering.
The game’s ending spoiled the day for Alfonzo, a 31-year-old journeyman who matched his career highs in hits and RBIs.
Angels 9, Mariners 7
E—Alfonzo (1). LOB—Seattle 10, Los Angeles 9. 2B—I.Suzuki (9), E.Aybar (10). HR—Alfonzo (1), off J.Saunders; H.Matsui (7), off Snell; H.Kendrick (3), off Kelley; H.Kendrick (4), off Aardsma. RBIs—I.Suzuki (10), Kotchman (19), Alfonzo 4 (4), Jo.Wilson (10), B.Abreu (27), H.Matsui 3 (27), J.Rivera (21), H.Kendrick 4 (27). SB—E.Aybar (7). CS—B.Abreu (5). RLISP—Seattle 5 (M.Sweeney, F.Gutierrez, Figgins, Bradley, Alfonzo); Los Angeles 5 (M.Izturis, Napoli 2, J.Rivera 2). RMU—M.Sweeney, M.Izturis. GIDP—Alfonzo. DP—Los Angeles 1 (H.Kendrick, Napoli).
|Kelley H, 2||2 1/3||2||1||1||0||3||37||2.25|
|Aardsma L, 0-3 BS, 3-14||1/3||2||3||3||1||0||18||4.41|
|Rodney W, 4-0||1||0||0||0||2||0||16||3.05|
IR-S—Colome 2-1, Kelley 3-1, T.Bell 2-2, Jepsen 1-0. IBB—off T.Bell (I.Suzuki). CI—Alfonzo. T—3:38. A—40,017 (45,285).
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