Seattle stays alive with 4-3 win over Angels
Sep. 27, 2014
SEATTLE (AP) — Manager Lloyd McClendon wanted to make the point clear to his team: Playing a meaningful 161st game of the season is an accomplishment.
Whether No. 162 will have any significance will depend on how much help the Seattle Mariners get from other teams.
"I like where we are," McClendon said. "I wish we were a little closer, but we'll see what happens."
Kendrys Morales, Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley homered against Jered Weaver, and the Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 on Friday night to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Seattle remained two games back of Oakland for the second AL wild card. Seattle must win its final two and have Oakland lose its final two to force a one-game playoff on Monday in Seattle.
"It's awesome to know we're at game 161 and we're still in it," Ackley said. "We couldn't ask for much more especially with how we played the last five or six games not getting many wins, and to still be in it is pretty awesome."
Morales and Saunders gave Hisashi Iwakuma (15-9) an early lead. Morales hit a leadoff homer in the second and Logan Morrison followed with a base hit to center before Saunders connected for his eighth homer.
Ackley led off the fifth with a drive to the right-field seats.
Iwakuma staggered through his past six starts, giving up at least three earned runs in each one and failing to pitch beyond the fifth four times. He rediscovered his form from earlier in the season, shutting out the Angels for the first five innings.
Los Angeles finally got to Iwakuma in the sixth when Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout hit back-to-back homers.
Iwakuma started the seventh but left with one out and a 3-2 count on David Freese after grimacing throwing a pitch and being visited by a trainer.
"I needed to do my job and come out with a quality start and I was able to do that," Iwakuma said through an interpreter.
The Angels tried to rally in the ninth. Erick Aybar's RBI double off Fernando Rodney cut the lead to 4-3, but the closer retired Freese and Brennan Boesch to complete his 48th save.
The Angels' main goal for the weekend was accomplished before first pitch. They locked up home-field advantage throughout the postseason when Baltimore lost 4-2 to Toronto.
Weaver (18-9) made his first start since being slowed by the flu and pitched six innings. Manager Mike Scioscia was hoping to get him enough work to be ready for the postseason, but Weaver allowed three or more homers for the eighth time in his career. Weaver set a new career high with 27 home runs allowed this season.
It was Trout's 36th homer of the season and No. 98 for his career, putting him in a tie with Frank Robinson for the fifth-most homers in baseball history before age 23.
Trout added a leaping catch of Morales' line drive in the eighth. Running to his left, Trout slightly overran the liner and reached behind his head as he jumped to make the catch.
"I put the glove where I thought the ball was going to be," Trout said. "You tell yourself to try to catch everything. I tried to give myself a chance and I caught it."
Iwakuma set a career high with his 15th win despite missing the first month of the season. He also became the fifth Japanese-born pitcher to win 15 games in a season.
Angels: OF Josh Hamilton is not expected to play in the final series of the regular season. The Angels were hopeful he could make it back before the start of the postseason but he's not expected to swing a bat until Saturday. ... RHP Matt Shoemaker (oblique) played catch at 150 feet on Friday and could be throwing off a mound next week.
Mariners: Iwakuma was bothered by a sore back and groin in his previous starts. He was pulled for precautionary reasons and checked out fine, the team announced.
Angels: LHP C.J. Wilson (13-10) makes his final start of the regular season and possibly final pitch to be in the rotation for the ALDS. Wilson didn't make it out of the first inning in his last start against Oakland.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (6-4) struggled last time out in Toronto. He gave up eight earned runs and walked six batters.