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M's offense sputters in loss to Angels

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SEATTLE (AP) - It was only Eric Wedge's second night back in the dugout since missing a month after suffering a mild stroke in July.

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But the Seattle Mariners manager isn't happy with his team's offensive production.

Former Mariners pitcher Jason Vargas held Seattle to just one run and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings and the Los Angeles Angels handed the Mariners a 5-1 loss on Saturday night.

The Mariners had multiple runners on base in the second and fourth innings, but came up empty each time as Vargas worked out of trouble.

In the fourth, Vargas (7-5) walked Justin Smoak and Endy Chavez singled to put runners on the corners with no outs, but the Mariners left both runners stranded.

``I've only been back a couple days, but haven't been pleased what I seen with our approach up there. When we're good, we're good. We're hitting fastballs. We're fouling some fastballs back. We're swinging through some pitches,'' Wedge said.

``I thought we did a lot of chasing today. Breaking balls out of the zone. It's not a good combination, missing fastballs and chasing breaking balls out of the zone. I know they're a lot better than that, we're deep enough in the season we should be better than that.''

The Mariners have scored just one run in their past 19 innings. They left four runners stranded in scoring position and grounded into two double plays.

``We spread out some hits here and there, but we never really put anything together,'' Wedge said. ``... You got to put more heat on them offensively. We didn't put a whole lot of pressure on them tonight. We got to make it more difficult for them than we did tonight.''

The Angels jumped on top early against Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez (4-1). After a walk to Erick Aybar, Mike Trout hit his 22nd home run to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

Chavez limited the early damage by robbing a would-be home run from Hank Conger in the second inning.

Ramirez and Vargas traded scoreless innings until Los Angeles managed to extend the lead in the seventh.

Grant Green singled and J.B. Shuck doubled to put two runners in scoring position with one out. Ramirez nearly worked out of the jam as Green was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to second, but Chavez dropped a fly ball that would have ended the inning and allowed Shuck to score to increase the lead to 3-0.

``I called for it and no excuse,'' Chavez said. I get to the (ball) and I'm supposed to make the catch.''

Humberto Quintero and Dustin Ackley led off the seventh inning with a pair of singles and Nick Franklin came to the plate to pinch-hit for Brendan Ryan.

With a 1-1 count, Franklin tried to call time, but it wasn't granted by plate umpire Ron Kulpa. Vargas appeared to hear Franklin's request while checking the runner at second base in his windup and stopped his motion. Kulpa called a balk and allowed both Quintero and Ackley to advance a base.

``When I heard it loud like that I just assumed it was the umpire but it wasn't,'' Vargas said. ``That's all on me. I can't take that for granted.''

Franklin grounded out to third to score Quintero and put the Mariners on the board for the first time in two nights and chase Vargas from the game.

Michael Kohn managed to work out of the jam. Despite hitting Kyle Seager with a pitch, Kohn struck out Brad Miller and Kendrys Morales to hold the Mariners at bay.

``We got a lot of young kids out there, whether it be on the mound or position player wise,'' Wedge said. ``It's a great time of year to learn from that. What I don't want to see is the same thing over and over again. It's just been a couple games for me being back, of course was watching on TV the last month, as well, but we're a lot better than what we've seen here the last couple nights offensively.''

The Angels added two more runs off reliever Brandon Maurer in the eighth inning. After a single from Mark Trumbo, Kole Calhoun tripled to left-center field to score a run. Chris Nelson followed with an RBI single to drive home Calhoun and extend the Angels lead to 5-1.

Notes: Angels manager Mike Scioscia said RHP Garrett Richards anticipates making his next start after taking a liner off his right forearm in Friday night's win over Seattle. ... RHP Kevin Jepsen was placed on the 15-day disabled list after having emergency surgery Saturday in Seattle to remove his appendix. OF Collin Cowgill was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake City. ... Mariners INF Nick Franklin pinch hit in the seventh inning and remained in the game at second base. It was his first game action since suffering a gash in his knee during a game in Oakland on Tuesday night that required stitches. ... C Mike Zunino took batting practice with the Mariners and the team plans to send him on a rehab assignment next week. Zunino has been on the disabled list since July 26 after suffering a broken bone in his left wrist.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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