SEATTLE (AP) - It gives little comfort to Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge that his team was 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels.
What he likes, however, was all those chances.
``We missed some opportunities, of course, with runners in scoring position but we created opportunity after opportunity,' Wedge said after the Mariners' 6-3 loss to the Angels. ``If our guys fight and battle like that we're going to win a lot of ball games.
``That's what they are all about. That's what we saw all spring. That's what we saw early. That's what we've seen here the last couple days.'
The Mariners had scored more than three runs just four times in their previous 19 games entering Friday's contest. Their problems had more to do with the absence of opportunities than the failures to come through.
They were on that same pattern early as Angels starter C. J. Wilson (2-0) allowed just one infield single through the first three innings.
He was working with a 5-0 lead as Hank Conger and Mark Trumbo each hit two-run home runs and Albert Pujols had a sac-fly. They chased Aaron Harang (0-3) after just three innings.
``Then they were like, `OK, let's stop getting out,'' Wilson said of the Mariners. ``They went really aggressive the first couple innings, chasing pitches. After that, they got better as the game went on. All my hits I gave up with strikes'
Wilson had to work out of two bases-loaded jams to secure the victory. He threw 35 pitches the first three innings then 62 over the next two.
``C.J., at times, was electric tonight. And, at times, it was rough,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``We had a five-run lead and he was having trouble getting the ball in the zone, putting hitters away. He had to get out of some bases-loaded jams a couple times, which is a good sign, and he minimized the damage.'
Wilson (2-0) went 5 1-3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs. He walked two and struck out a season-high nine.
Ernesto Frieri pitched the ninth for his third save in three chances.
Kyle Seager singled in the fourth to give him a career-high 15-game hit streak, longest in the majors this season. He is batting .393 during the streak with seven doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI.
Seager and Kendrys Morales opened the fourth with singles and Michael Morse earned a nine-pitch walk to load the bases with no outs. After Justin Smoak struck out, Kelly Shoppach was hit by a pitch, forcing in a run. He has been hit 55 times in his career, the second time with the bases loaded.
Wilson then struck out Robert Andino and Endy Chavez.
Singles by Brendan Ryan and Jason Bay in the fifth were followed by a one-out walk to Morales, loading up more trouble for Wilson. But he got Morse on an infield popup and struck out Smoak.
``You've got to slow it down there,' Smoak said. ``Got a couple backdoor sliders to hit and took them. In that situation, bases-loaded, less than two outs, you're trying to put the bat on the ball, get one guy in. Unfortunately, tonight we weren't able to do that.'
The critical play in the game involved Smoak with two outs in the sixth. He was on second when pinch-hitter Dustin Ackley bounced a ball through the right side but second baseman Howie Kendrick knocked it down and it rolled a few feet away from him. Smoak was sent home.
``Once I dove and saw the ball kick off, I could see Smoak out of the corner of my eye that he rounded the base,' Kendrick said. ``So I just assumed he was going. Once I got the ball I got up and threw it.'
Smoak was tagged out on a close play.
``The umpire told me Smoak's foot was up going over the plate,' Wedge said. ``If his foot is down, he's safe. He just had that front foot elevated.'
Scioscia said Kendrick's play ``was as good of an agility play you'll see a second baseman make. First to get to the ball, knock it down then regain his feet and throw on run like, that was impressive.'
NOTES: OF Michael Saunders (right AC joint) joined Triple-A Tacoma in Las Vegas Friday for a rehab assignment. ``The earliest (return) would be Monday,' Wedge said. ``We'll see how he feels.' Mariners' prized prospect, LHP Danny Hultzen, has been diagnosed with a strained left rotator cuff and tendinitis. He will rest and rehab for two weeks. Jason Bay, hitting .220, started as the leadoff hitter for the first time in his 10-year career. ... With Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo on the DL, Scioscia said, ``what's missing is the balance they give you. They're both switch-hitters. We didn't match up as well (Thursday) as we could have.'
The Associated Press News Service
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