Angels power out of funk in Seattle

Angels power out of funk in Seattle

SEATTLE -- So there is life in the Angels' offense after all.

A sudden power surge ignited by Peter Bourjos, with Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui jumping into the act, enabled the Angels to bust out of their offensive doldrums and subdue the Mariners, 5-3, behind Ervin Santana on Monday night in front of 20,545 at Safeco Field.

The Angels, having scored one run while getting swept three straight by the Orioles over the weekend, had put only one man in scoring position through five innings -- Bourjos stealing second after getting hit by a pitch in the third.

The Angels' scoreless stretch had reached 31 innings when Bourjos, the electric center fielder, started the fireworks display against David Pauley. Leading off the sixth, he unloaded a drive to dead center, over the 405 sign for his second career homer.

"I didn't realize until last night it had been that long," Bourjos said, referring to the scoring drought. "On a 1-0 count, I was looking for a pitch to drive, and I was happy to get a fastball to hit. That was definitely a good feeling."

It was the start of something big -- and loud.

With two away, Abreu launched one in the same direction, his 16th homer of the season and No. 272 of his career. After Torii Hunter slashed a single off Pauley, Matsui hit his monster shot to right field, in excess of 420 feet. Ichiro Suzuki, his celebrated countryman from Japan, took a peek over his left shoulder as the ball took flight.

"It kind of shocked me, a guy his size hitting a ball 420 feet to center field in this park, which plays big," Hunter said of Bourjos. "It was a bomb. He really sparked us tonight.      

"Bobby followed him up, and I got a hit, and then Hideki crushed that one. Second deck, on a line. Ichiro didn't even move."

Matsui's mammoth blow left Bourjos open-mouthed in amazement.

"We were talking about home runs," Bourjos said. "Hideki's was a bomb. During batting practice, nobody got close to that one. And it was a line drive."

The homer was No. 17 for Matsui, who is 11 shy of 500 in a professional career that featured 332 homers for the Yomiuri Giants. He took over the team RBI lead from Hunter with No. 71.

All three blasts came on fastballs by Pauley, who hadn't allowed a hit until Hunter -- having narrowly missed a homer on a line drive into the left-field corner -- singled through the middle with one out in the fourth.

"I wouldn't say wary," Mariners manager Daren Brown said when asked if the Angels' offensive drought was a concern. "For them coming in with, what, 26 [scoreless] innings or something like that, to think they are going to leave here and double that total is probably not realistic.

"But at the same time, I thought Pauley did a nice job for five innings."

Santana (14-9) had designs on a shutout when a misplay by the left side of the Angels' infield cost him in the seventh. Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo let Jose Lopez's popup fall between them for a gift hit leading off.

Singles by Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders produced a run, and Adam Moore's sacrifice fly cut the deficit to 4-2. The runs were technically earned, but unearned in reality.

"The important thing is we won," Santana said. "Those runs we got were very exciting.

"I'm not as overpowering as before, maybe, but I'm getting more innings with quick outs. I'm getting ahead and keeping the ball down."

Three consecutive walks issued by Jamey Wright and a forceout by Juan Rivera in the eighth added a run in support of Santana, who lasted 7 2/3 innings before giving way to Kevin Jepsen for the final out of the eighth.

Santana was working out of the stretch much of the night, thanks largely to Ichiro's brilliance. The wondrous one singled and stole second in the first and third innings but was stranded each time.

In the second, Gutierrez drove one off the wall in left, but Bourjos came flying over from center to handle the carom and throw a strike to Callaspo to nail Gutierrez trying to stretch it into a triple.

"I ran a long ways," Bourjos said, "and threw it clean. After I made the throw I wasn't sure if we weren't going to get him, but [Callaspo] made a good tag. That was a big out at the time."

Russell Branyan never got past second after doubling to lead off the fourth. Santana struck out the side -- Lopez, Casey Kotchman and Gutierrez.

Bourjos was handcuffed by Gutierrez's line drive off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning after Kotchman's walk. Gutierrez was out at second on a relay after rounding second on his double, Bourjos to Aybar to first baseman Rivera slipping in to apply the tag.

Kotchman scored on a wild pitch before Rodney nailed down his seventh save.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.