ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The Seattle Mariners were charged with a season-high five errors in their loss to the pennant-contending Los Angeles Angels. It very easily could have been six.
Trayvon Robinson, starting in center field for only the second time in the majors because of a season-ending injury to Franklin Gutierrez, misjudged a two-out triple by Torii Hunter that enabled the Angels to score three runs in the first inning of their 7-3 victory.
Robinson's defensive lapse came exactly one month after the Los Angeles native robbed Hunter of a two-run homer to left field in his major league debut at Angel Stadium.
``He was back there on the wall and looked like he had it all the way, but the ball got behind him,' Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. ``Obviously, that can't happen. But he obviously had a little edge to him at home plate after that and got a couple of knocks, so that was a good sign. But he's still has to be better out there. I mean, he's a center fielder by trade, and that's what he's done almost his entire career with the exception of this year.'
Hunter trotted to first base, thinking the ball would be caught, and didn't turn on the jets until he rounded first and saw the ball hit off the top of the fence. Peter Bourjos scored on Hunter's third triple of the season and Trumbo homered against Anthony Vasquez (1-2) for his 26th of the season, the most among rookies.
``He just mixes his pitches so much, I wasn't really keying on one pitch,' Trumbo said. ``But I was trying to hit a ball up the middle. It looked like Brendan Ryan was really shading me in the hole and the middle of the field looked pretty inviting.'
Gutierrez was shut down for the rest of the season after leaving Sunday's game at Oakland with a severe left oblique strain. He finished his injury-plagued campaign batting .224 with one home run and 19 RBIs in just 92 games - but will begin next season with an errorless streak of 284 games, an AL record for that position.
``He does give you great defense,' Wedge said. ``But one thing I feel good about is what he's done offensively the last month. I mean, he's really come on and he needed to do that - for himself and for us. And that's what I told him, that he needed to focus on - not get caught up what the overall numbers are. You can't do anything about that.'
Vasquez was charged with seven runs - six earned - and six hits in 5 2-3 innings. The former USC left-hander has surrendered 18 earned runs, 22 hits and six home runs in 15 innings over his first three major league starts, including a 13-5 loss to the Angels last Tuesday at Seattle.
``Vasquez deserved a better fate,' Wedge said. ``We literally gave them four or five runs. We were just sloppy all day.'
The Mariners are 15-22 since their franchise-record 17-game losing streak in July. The defeat ensured the Mariners of their sixth losing season during Ichiro Suzuki's 11 years with the club. His first year was 2001, when they won 116 games under manager Lou Piniella and tied the major league record set by the 1906 Chicago Cubs.
Dan Haren (14-8) worked in and out of trouble through six innings, allowing three runs and 10 hits while striking out three and walking none. The Angels capitalized on Texas' 5-1 loss at Tampa Bay and moved within 2 1/2 games of first place in the AL West. Los Angeles is a season-best 13 games over .500 (77-64).
``I'm very encouraged. I mean, we've had our struggles - especially in the beginning of the year. And Texas is an unbelievable ballclub. So for us to be this close this late in the season, if we can put together one good run we can catch them,' Haren said. ``We've got 21 games left, and I like our chances - especially if we're swinging the bats the way we are right now.'
Haren gave up three two-out singles in the first, including a run-scoring hit to Justin Smoak, who was hitless in his 10 previous career at_bats against the three-time All-Star. Mike Carp tried to go to third base on the play, but was thrown out by Hunter after Dustin Ackley crossed the plate. Hunter's 14th outfield assist equaled his career high from 2001 with Minnesota.
The Mariners had Haren on the ropes again in the second after a leadoff double to Adam Kennedy and an RBI single by Josh Bard. Robinson's double sent Bard to third, but both runners held on Suzuki's broken-bat grounder to second and Brendan Ryan took a called third strike.
The first three Angels in the third reached base without the benefit of a hit and all of them scored, increasing the lead to 6-2. Maicer Izturis, who missed the previous three games after getting hit on the right thigh by a pitch, was plunked again by Vasquez. Bourjos walked, and Izturis scored when third baseman Kyle Seager booted Howie Kendrick's grounder. Hunter followed with a sacrifice fly and Kendrick scored on Trumbo's double off the wall in right.
``Seager's been playing a real good third base for us and doing a good job,' Wedge said. ``But on that ball, he was a little bit in-between. So he's either got to drop-step and get your double play, or go get it and be more aggressive it. But you can't play it halfway, because most of those balls have topspin and it'll play you. Ad that's what happened.'
Ryan got Seattle within 6-3 in the fifth with his third homer. It ended a stretch of 50 1-3 innings and 199 batters in which Haren had not allowed a home run against the Mariners. The previous one was Jose Lopez's three-run shot in Seattle's 4-0 victory at Oakland on Sept. 17, 2007.
Notes: Suzuki played in his 100th game at Angel Stadium, one day after playing in his 100th game at Oakland's McAfee Coliseum. ... The Mariners are 10-26 against the Angels since the start of last season and 3-15 at Anaheim during that stretch.
The Associated Press News Service
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