ANAHEIM -- Johnny Giavotella sparked the Angels again on Sunday, stretching what looked like a routine single into a double to lead off the eighth inning of a tie game at Angel Stadium and setting up Kole Calhoun's go-ahead RBI single that lifted the Angels to a 3-2 win and sweep of the Mariners.
Giavotella lined a base hit into center field off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma, and, hustling all the way, caught the Seattle defense off-guard. Brad Miller's rushed throw into second came in on a bad short-hop, and Giavotella dove in just under the tag. Two batters later, Calhoun ripped a single past a diving Jesus Montero at first base to drive in pinch-runner Taylor Featherston.
"It was a gamble that paid off," Giavotella said. "It was a big win for us, and we just look to keep rolling."
The Angels remain a 1/2 game behind the Astros for an American League Wild Card spot, as Houston beat the Rangers on Sunday. But Texas' loss pulled the Angels within three games of the Rangers in the AL West. The Astros' win also officially eliminated the Mariners from postseason contention. Seattle hasn't made the playoffs since its MLB record-tying 116-win season in 2001.
Jered Weaver bounced back from a loss the last time he faced the Mariners -- when he allowed the difference-making three-run homer to Montero and was ejected after plunking Kyle Seager following a verbal exchange -- to hold Seattle to one run in five innings. But he was lifted after only 71 pitches due to right shoulder tightness. Weaver said he expected to make his next start, which would be his last of the regular season.
"It was not comfortable," Weaver said. "Just wanted to go out there and try to get through as much as I could with, obviously, the bullpen getting abused over the course of the season."
Iwakuma, who held the Angels to one run in 15 combined innings the last two times he faced them, was effective again on Sunday. The right-hander tossed 7 1/3 sharp innings, allowing three runs -- but he was charged with the go-ahead run after allowing Giavotella's big hit.
"Overall I think the ball came out pretty well and I was able to get guys out when I needed to for the most part and keep the team in the game until the end," said Iwakuma, who fell to 9-5 with the loss. "What cost me was not being able to get that first out [in the eighth on Giavotella] and they made me pay."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Committee, Day 1: The first game of the Angels' bullpen-by-committee -- a necessity with closer Huston Street and setup man Joe Smith both hurt -- was, on the whole, a success. Fernando Salas did allow the tying run in the eighth inning, but the Angels relievers also got 12 big outs with Weaver exiting after only five innings. And once the Angels regained the lead in the bottom of the eighth, Mike Morin successfully closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth for his first career save. After dealing with injuries for most of the season and posting a 7.43 ERA through August, Morin has allowed only one run in 14 September appearances. More >
Another Montero moment: The Mariners had trouble getting to Weaver early, but leave it to Montero to finally break the ice in the fourth with an RBI single past diving shortstop Erick Aybar to score Nelson Cruz from second. Montero was in the lineup for one reason: he's hit Weaver mercilessly in prior meetings with five home runs in 12 at-bats coming in. After a 1-for-2 day against Weaver, he's now batting .500 (7-for-14) with 10 RBIs against the veteran right-hander.
Re-Freese: After his walk-off home run on Saturday night, David Freese gave the Angels the lead in the fifth inning with a solo homer to right field off Iwakuma. Freese drove an Iwakuma curveball a projected 392 feet away from home, with an exit velocity of 102 mph, according to Statcast™. It was the first time he had homered in back-to-back games as an Angel
"David is a great clutch hitter and he gives great at-bats," manager Mike Scioscia said, "and we're gonna need him down the stretch, for sure."
Hot weather, but no fireworks: Weaver got ejected the last time he faced the Mariners after hitting Seager with a pitch after the two exchanged words regarding Seager's timeout tactics in the batter's box. But there was no further flareups in their first meeting since that Sept. 16 incident, other than some scattered boos from Angels fans when Seager stepped to the plate for the first time on the 90-degree afternoon. Seager flied out out to center in the first, then doubled with one out in the fourth after Weaver had been perfect to that point.
"[Scioscia} came up to me after the fifth and asked what I had left, and I told him it wasn't getting any better, so he wanted to go to the bullpen. I couldn't really do anything about it. It was frustrating, but we won. That's most important." -- Weaver on fighting through his shoulder stiffness on Sunday
"Trying to get a ground ball or strikeout. He's had success against him. We got the ground ball, we just couldn't put a glove on it." -- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon on going with right-handed reliever Carson Smith against the lefty Calhoun in the eighth
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Angels used a challenge to erase a Mariners baserunner in the fifth inning. After being hit by a pitch from Weaver, Logan Morrison attempted to steal second and was ruled safe after sliding in ahead of catcher Carlos Perez's throw. Scioscia challenged, and replays showed that Morrison overslid the bag, while Aybar held the tag on him. The call was overturned after a brief review, and Perez was credited with a caught stealing.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Roenis Elias (5-8, 3.94) gets the start on Monday when Seattle opens its final homestand with a 7:10 p.m. PT game against the Astros. Elias is 1-2 with a 6.85 ERA in four starts against Houston this season.
Angels:Hector Santiago (9-9, 3.47) looks for his 10th win of the season when the Angels open a three-game series against the A's at 7:05 p.m. PT on Monday at Angel Stadium. Santiago beat the Astros in his last start, holding Houston to two runs over five innings despite issuing five walks.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.