ANAHEIM, Calif. – Racking up hits and scoring runs against Shohei Ohtani would’ve been difficult for the Mariners with a full healthy lineup.
But beating the Angels ace with a lineup missing Eugenio Suarez, Mitch Haniger and Julio Rodriguez?
That bordered on the impossible.
The Mariners’ best hope for success was to keep the game close with Ohtani on the mound and try to beat up on the Angels’ beleaguered bullpen late in the game.
The formula almost worked.
While Ohtani shut them out for seven innings, the Mariners got a quality start from George Kirby to give them a chance.
But the Mariners’ depleted lineup couldn’t get the big hit in the final two innings in a frustrating 2-1 loss to the Angels.
The Mariners have opened their final road trip of the regular season with back-to-back losses.
Suarez was placed on the injured list before the game with a broken right index finger and Haniger wasn’t ready to return from back spasms.
Rodriguez was scratched from the starting lineup about 10 minutes before the game due to lower back tightness.
That’s the Mariners’ three most dangerous hitters.
Kirby pitched six solid innings, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and nine strikeouts and took the loss to fall to 7-4 on the season.
He gave up a run in the first inning when Trout dumped a single into right field and Ohtani hit a deep fly ball that went over left fielder Jesse Winker’s head twice – the first on the fly and the second when it bounced off the wall and warning track.
The misplay on the carom allowed the speedy Trout to score from first base on the play.
Irritated but unfazed, Kirby retired the next eight batters he faced until leadoff walk to Ohtani to start the fourth inning. It was Kirby’s first walk in 45 batters faced. Taylor Ward followed with a single and both runners advanced a base on a rare wild pitch from Kirby.
That loomed large when Matt Duffy hit a ground ball to shortstop that scored Ohtani from third.
When Kirby ripped a 98-mph fastball past a flailing Mickey Moniak to end the fourth inning, he voiced his frustration as he exited the mound.
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