SEATTLE (AP) - For a brief moment, Jeff Mathis was cut down at the plate and the Seattle Mariners were about to wiggle out of a major jam.
Then the ball went tumbling out of catcher Miguel Olivo's glove. Mathis was safe, the inning was extended and Vernon Wells made Seattle pay with his second homer of the game.
Wells hit the Angels' first homer in a week with a solo shot in the third inning, then hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh to give Los Angeles a 6-3 win over the Mariners on Monday night.
The slumping Angels won for just the second time in nine games and started their longest road trip of the season with a comeback victory capped by a power surge.
``We made a couple of mistakes they capitalized on. We were right in the game there,' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said.
But that second homer by Wells probably should never have happened.
Mathis doubled into the left-field corner leading off the seventh, barely beating the throw to second by Carlos Peguero. He moved to third on Maicer Izturis' groundout to first, but looked as though he was going to be cut down at the plate. Mathis broke for home on Torii Hunter's grounder to Chone Figgins at third base, who immediately threw to the plate. The throw easily beat Mathis, but his hard slide into Olivo knocked the ball free and tied the game at 3.
After Bobby Abreu's fly out, Vargas (4-4) made a mistake with a hanging curve for his 10th homer allowed this season, even though he should have been out of the inning.
``One of those things that even when you pitch good in this league you can still get hurt,' Vargas said. ``It happens.'
Vargas was a dropped tag away from walking away with a third straight strong start. In his previous outing at home, Vargas tossed the first complete-game shutout of his career, then followed up with 7 1-3 innings allowing three runs to Chicago.
Thanks to Wells' second blast, Vargas finished the night going seven innings and giving up five earned runs, the third time in his last five starts allowing at least five runs.
``They put some good swings on balls when it mattered,' Vargas said. ``They stayed in the game. I felt like I was throwing the ball well and had them going back and forth a little bit but they stayed with it.'
The late offensive surge made a winner out of Angels starter Dan Haren, who struggled to make it through six innings.
Haren (6-4) allowed two earned runs in his previous 24 innings against the Mariners, only to give up his third Monday night in the fifth inning when Brendan Ryan's sacrifice fly scored Figgins with the go-ahead run.
Seattle got an RBI double from Adam Kennedy in the first and an infield RBI single by Franklin Gutierrez in the second. But despite a high pitch count, Haren kept the Mariners in check to get his eighth career win against the Mariners.
If there was a sign of hope for Seattle's offense it was Figgins and leadoff batter Ichiro Suzuki combining for three hits and both hitting balls hard. Suzuki is now 8 for 13 since getting his first day off last Friday.
``He's headed in the right direction,' Wedge said. ``He made something happen with that bunt and had the knock early, was aggressive on the basepath. You have to be pleased with what we've seen the last three (to) four games.'
Notes: Retired Mariners CF Ken Griffey Jr. was part of Monday's television broadcast, his first visit back to Safeco Field since his abrupt retirement last June. ... The Angels placed RHP Fernando Rodney on the 15-day disabled list Monday (back strain) and recalled RHP Bobby Cassevah from Triple-A Salt Lake. ... Seattle moved RHP David Aardsma to the 60-day disabled list and activated LHP Mauricio Robles from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Single-A High Desert.
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The Associated Press News Service
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