SEATTLE (AP) - This time of the season with all that's at stake for the Los Angeles Angels, their 2-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night stings more than usual.
Mike Carp hit a two-run double with two outs in the eighth inning to support Felix Hernandez' five-hit complete game and spoil an outstanding effort by Angels starter Dan Haren (13-8).
The loss prevented the Angels from gaining ground on first-place Texas in the AL West. The Rangers, who earlier lost to Tampa Bay 5-1, maintained a 3 1/2-game lead.
Hernandez, who issued one walk and struck out nine, went out in the ninth to hold the one-run lead with a 1-2-3 inning for his fifth complete game of the season and the 18th of his career.
He struck out the first two batters then Mark Trumbo ended it with a fly ball to the warning track in right.
``He's (Trumbo) got big-time power,' Hernandez said. ``I thought, 'No way, no way.' Finally, it ended.'
Peter Bourjos of the Angels said: ``It definitely hurts but that's baseball. We still got them (Rangers) three games at the end of the year and there's a lot of games left. They have a tough schedule. We just have to go out and try and win every night.'
At one point, Haren, who allowed five hits in 7 2-3 innings with one walk and seven strikeouts, retired 15 consecutive batters. After a one-out double by Kyle Seager in the second, he didn't allow another baserunner until Franklin Gutierrez's one-out single in the seventh.
For eight-plus innings, it was a typical Hernandez-Haren matchup. The right-handers had opposed each other three times previously. Coming in, Hernandez was 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 26 strikeouts in his three starts. Haren was 1-1 with a 0.83 ERA and 18 strikeouts.
``I go out there and do what I can. I haven't had the best of luck lately but it was a tough loss for the team,' Haren said. ``He's (Hernandez) got so many different pitches and different looks. He's young ... he's terrific.'
Haren could not escape the eighth. With the Angels leading 1-0, the Mariners rallied with two outs. Gutierrez and Dustin Ackley singled to chase Haren.
Then it was an uncharacteristic letdown for reliever Scott Downs, who entered the game with 20 straight holds.
On a 2-1 pitch, Carp drilled his double to the base of the wall in left-center. That gave him 25 RBIs in August, tying Danny Tartabull for the most for a rookie in any month.
Carp, a left-hand hitter, is hitting .349 with five home runs and 15 RBIs against lefties this season.
``They still got to throw it over plate,' Carp said. ``I got a pitch I could hit. I had to do my job and get at least one run in. I got two.'
Carp had a game-winning two-run homer Monday to beat the Angels 5-3.
``He just got behind in the count and missed with a 2-1 sinker,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``He left it up and more in the middle.
``Both of those (starters) threw terrific ball games,' he added. ``We didn't get much going offensively. We got one run. Against any lineup, you have to keep making pitches and Danny did for the most part. I think those guys battled, pitch by pitch. Hernandez came out on top with a heck of a pitcher's duel.'
Bourjos added that Downs ``has been one of the best eighth-inning guys in baseball. For something like tonight to happen is really out of character. I'm sure he feels the worst of anybody. He's doing a great job this year and one game isn't going to define his year.'
The Angels' run came in the third. Mike Trout opened with a single to center. Expecting a low-scoring game, Scioscia chose to manufacture a run. He had Jeff Mathis sacrifice Trout to second with a bunt.
Erick Aybar struck out, giving Hernandez 1,240 career strikeouts. That moved him ahead of Jamie Moyer into second place on the franchise strikeout list. Randy Johnson leads with 2,162.
Howie Kendrick followed with a two-out single through the left side. Trout scored without a throw.
Hernandez retired 16 of the last 17 batters.
``After that run, I kept putting zeros on the board to give us a chance late in the game,' Hernandez said. ``That's what we did.'
Carp said Haren was just as good.
``Hats off to him. He kept us off-balance all night,' Carp said. ``We started seeing a little better toward end but for eight inning there he was solid.'
Notes: Aybar had a bunt single in the eighth - the team's major league-leading 34th - to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. ... It was Haren's first loss to Seattle since Sept. 17, 2007. He came in with a 9-4 record against the Mariners. ... Over his last 13 games, Kendrick is hitting .357 with 14 runs, 10 extra-base hits and 12 RBIs.
The Associated Press News Service
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