Wild pitch in ninth caps odd night for Mariners

Wild pitch in ninth caps odd night for Mariners

Wild pitch in ninth caps odd night for Mariners
ANAHEIM -- Felix Hernandez has been lights out for the past seven weeks, but the Mariners ace couldn't hold an early five-run lead Friday as the Angels took advantage of several Seattle miscues to pull out a 6-5 victory.

Pinch-runner Peter Bourjos scored the winning run on a wild pitch by reliever Josh Kinney with one out in the bottom of the ninth as the Angels scored the game's final six runs, with rookie Mike Trout accounting for five RBIs with a three-run homer and a rare two-run sacrifice fly.

Odd game?

"It's baseball," Hernandez said. "You're going to have those kind of games, so you just move on."

But not without a lot of head scratching, after several mental errors compounded two fielding errors in a game ultimately decided by Kinney's wild pitch. And Kinney was only in the game at that point because the Mariners' bullpen roles were scrambled by the absence of closer Tom Wilhelmsen, who'd flown to Seattle for the birth of his daughter.

"It was a slider. I felt that was the pitch to throw there," Kinney said of the final play. "We're going to punch him out on a 1-2 pitch or get a ground ball. But I backed it up. That's the only thing I can say. It flew out of my hand and [catcher John] Jaso is expecting it down and in to a lefty and it just stayed up and away, spinning in there like a cement mixer.

"I wish I could get that pitch back, get it over the plate, and make him hit it and see what happens. That's what [stinks] right now. I don't feel like that was the right way for that to turn out."

Kendrys Morales doubled leading off the bottom of the ninth and was replaced by Bourjos. The Mariners intentionally walked Alberto Callaspo and both runners moved up on a sacrifice by Howie Kendrick.

Kinney then intentionally walked Erick Aybar to load the bases, but his 1-2 pitch to pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis sailed away from Jaso as the speedy Bourjos sprinted home.

"I was kind of protecting a slider in the dirt and it just shot out of his hand," Jaso said. "I don't know if he tried to overthrow it. He'd thrown two really good sliders right before that, it was just weird. I almost had it. But with Bourjos, if the ball trickles away anywhere, it's a run."

The Mariners have now lost five straight and are 1-6 on their current road trip, falling to 51-63 on the season.

Hernandez wound up with a no-decision after allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits over seven innings. His record remains 10-5 with a 2.74 ERA, but the Mariners certainly don't expect to lose with their ace on the mound and a five-run advantage after a two-run homer by Dustin Ackley and a three-run shot by Jaso in the third.

"That was not my best game tonight," Hernandez said. "I fell behind and made a couple mistakes and that was the game right there. They gave me an early lead and I couldn't hold it. It's all on me."

In truth, he had a lot of help in losing this one. Trout ripped his three-run shot in the third after Brendan Ryan committed just his fourth error of the season on the first ball hit to him after sitting four games with a bruised left elbow.

That blow by the 21-year-old center fielder ended Hernandez's streak of 13 straight scoreless innings and was just the second home run he's allowed in his past 12 starts.

The Mariners ran themselves out of an inning in the fifth when Michael Saunders doubled -- snapping a 1-for-23 stretch -- but then got doubled off second on a popout to short when he got too far off the bag and couldn't beat Aybar's throw back to the bag.

Things got even stranger in the bottom of the fifth when Trout managed his two-RBI sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and no outs to tie the game at 5. Eric Thames caught Trout's drive down the right-field line, but then threw to second base as Aybar -- who had tagged at second -- rounded third and scored standing as the ball got away from Ryan.

Thames was given an error on the throw for allowing the runner at first to advance to second, but the official scorer ruled Aybar was going all the way and advanced two bases on the sacrifice fly.

"What he needs to do is come up and hit the cutoff man and then we control the baseball in a first-and-third situation," said Wedge.

Ryan credited Aybar with heads-up baserunning and, indeed, Angels third-base coach Dino Ebel pounced when he saw the throw going toward second.

"Dino's certainly in tune with what's happening on the back side, and he makes sure our guys run through bases," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Once he saw the throw was going to second and thought Erick had a chance to score, the timing was right."

Wedge said called the last two losses "uncharacteristic" because of some poor defensive play, which has been a strength of the club most of the year. And everyone agreed that coming on a day when Hernandez pitched, it added up to a bad day.

"Those ones hurt," said Ryan. "You get some momentum like that, get a nice lead with your ace on the mound and you just can't afford to be sloppy out there in the field. Errors are going to happen. They made a couple, too. But the mental mistakes can't take place."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.