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Halos stymied by lefty again in 2-hit shutout

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- The Angels' vulnerability to left-handed pitchers was exposed yet again on Wednesday night, as they were shut out, 3-0, by southpaw Marco Gonzales and the Mariners to even their three-game series at Angel Stadium.

The Angels mustered only two hits -- singles by Andrelton Simmons and Mike Trout in the fourth inning -- against Gonzales, who fired seven scoreless innings on 82 pitches. The Mariners have won each of his four starts against the Angels this season.

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ANAHEIM -- The Angels' vulnerability to left-handed pitchers was exposed yet again on Wednesday night, as they were shut out, 3-0, by southpaw Marco Gonzales and the Mariners to even their three-game series at Angel Stadium.

The Angels mustered only two hits -- singles by Andrelton Simmons and Mike Trout in the fourth inning -- against Gonzales, who fired seven scoreless innings on 82 pitches. The Mariners have won each of his four starts against the Angels this season.

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"It seems like we face him every time we play the Mariners," Trout said. "He just keeps you off-balance. You can't miss a pitch on him."

Entering Wednesday, the Angels had the second-lowest batting average (.224) and the fifth-lowest OPS (.676) against lefties in the Majors. Against right-handers, the Angels are batting .250 with a .744 OPS. Not surprisingly, the Angels have gone 7-17 against left-handed starters, compared to 40-29 against right-handers. They are scheduled to face another lefty, James Paxton, in Thursday's rubber match at Angel Stadium.

"We've looked at everything," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Historically, we have some guys that are really, really dynamic hitters against left-handed pitching. They just haven't gotten into their groove, for whatever reason. We've struggled against left-handed pitching, for sure."

Albert Pujols (.162), Ian Kinsler (.185) and Justin Upton (.203) are among the Angels who have struggled to hit lefties this season. In an attempt to generate more offense, the Angels started right-handed hitters Jefry Marte and David Fletcher over lefty bats Shohei Ohtani and Luis Valbuena, though Marte and Fletcher combined to go 0-for-5 against Gonzales.

The Angels (47-46) are now 11 games behind the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Rookie right-hander Jaime Barria was charged with the loss after giving up three runs on five hits over five-plus innings. He has yielded three or fewer runs in six of his last seven starts, but he has a 1-5 record over that span, as the Angels have scored just 17 runs over those games (2.42 per game).

"It's part of the game," Barria said. "Sometimes you hit, [sometimes] you don't."

Video: LAA@SEA: Barria strikes out Gordon, the side in 5th

The Mariners got on the board in the third inning after David Freitas blasted a first-pitch fastball from Barria to center field for his first career home run. Trout leapt at the wall and nearly robbed it, but the ball hit off his glove and landed above the home-run boundary.

"It was close," Trout said. "I saw the replay, if it was hit maybe on more of a line drive, I probably would have had a chance, but I just came up short."

Video: SEA@LAA: Freitas hits 1st career jack to open scoring

Barria fell into more trouble in the fourth after surrendering a leadoff double to Jean Segura and plunking Mitch Haniger on the elbow to put runners on first and second with no outs. Barria then uncorked a wild pitch during an at-bat against Nelson Cruz, allowing the runners to advance to second and third. Cruz followed by lining a 3-1 slider up the middle for a two-run single that extended the Mariners' lead to 3-0.

"He lost a little crispness the second time around," Scioscia said. "Just missed with some [pitches]. It wasn't that bad of a start for Jaime. But it just wasn't as crisp as he got into the middle innings."

Gonzales faced little adversity, retiring the first 10 batters he faced before Simmons and Trout produced back-to-back singles with one out in the fourth. Still, Gonzales avoided damage by striking out Justin Upton looking and coaxing a groundout from Pujols to end the inning.

Gonzales cruised the rest of the way and capped his outing by retiring the final 11 batters he faced. The Angels produced some hard contact in the seventh -- Upton blistered an 110-mph liner that was snagged by Segura, and Pujols lined out sharpy to right field on a ball that had an exit velocity of 102 mph -- but Gonzales managed to keep his shutout intact.

"He made pitches," Scioscia said. "Guys are trying some different stuff. He's pitched some good games against us, and we'll have to keep going. We just didn't get a chance to get enough pressure on him."

After Gonzales exited the game, the Angels generated their best scoring opportunity of the night against right-handed reliever Alex Colome. Kinsler reached on a hit-by-pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch to get into scoring position. He moved to third on a groundout by Valbuena, who pinch-hit for Marte, but Martin Maldonado struck out and Kole Calhoun grounded out to leave him stranded.

Mariners closer Edwin Diaz took over in the ninth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to seal Seattle's win.

UP NEXT
Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (6-5, 2.64 ERA) is expected to come off the disabled list and pitch against the Mariners in Thursday's series finale at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. He'll be opposed by Mariners lefty James Paxton (8-3, 3.49 ERA), who will start in place of the injured Felix Hernandez. Skaggs, who missed his scheduled start last week in Seattle because of a right adductor strain, posted a 0.84 ERA in five June starts. He is 1-2 with a 4.63 ERA in eight career starts against the Mariners.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels