SEATTLE -- The Angels had hoped that Shohei Ohtani's return from the disabled list would help boost their lineup, but he didn't deliver the immediate jolt they had been hoping for. Ohtani went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his first game since June 6, though the rest of his teammates
SEATTLE -- The Angels had hoped that Shohei Ohtani's return from the disabled list would help boost their lineup, but he didn't deliver the immediate jolt they had been hoping for. Ohtani went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his first game since June 6, though the rest of his teammates didn't fare much better, mustering only four hits in a 4-1 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday night at Safeco Field.
The Mariners scored three runs in the first inning off left-hander Andrew Heaney, and the Angels never recovered, as Ohtani, Michael Trout, Justin Upton and Jose Pujols combined to go 0-for-11 against Seattle left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who allowed one run over seven innings to lead Seattle to its eighth consecutive win.
"It's a different atmosphere up here facing big league pitchers in a big league stadium," Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. "I still might need a little more time to adjust, but it shouldn't take long."
Andrelton Simmons homered off LeBlanc in the fourth to supply the Angels' lone run of the evening. With the loss, the Angels dropped to 43-43 on the season, slipping 12 games behind the Mariners for the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
Heaney settled in after his uneven start, but he was charged with the tough-luck loss after giving up three runs on five hits over seven innings. He matched his career high with 10 strikeouts and walked two in the 106-pitch outing.
"Andrew was terrific," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He pitched a great game, gave us a chance to win. We just couldn't get any kind of pressure offensively."
The Mariners jumped on Heaney early, loading the bases with one out in the first inning after Jean Segura doubled and Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz drew back-to-back walks. Kyle Seager then lined a two-run double to right field to put Seattle on the board. The Angels also suffered another injury on the play, as right fielder Chris Young slipped awkwardly while attempting to field the ball and was forced to depart the game with a left hamstring strain.
Heaney then appeared to strike out Ryon Healy for the second out of the inning, but the ball got away from catcher Martin Maldonado, allowing Healy to reach first and Cruz to score from third to give the Mariners a 3-0 lead. Still, Heaney avoided further damage by striking out Denard Span and Mike Zunino swinging to end the inning.
"Just kind of was falling behind, not making good pitches," Heaney said. "It's sort of been the same old story for a little while, just sort of the big innings where I let it kind of build. A couple walks, a double and the one hit kind of opens it up. It's something where I need to come out and establish earlier, kind of get ahead and all the other same stuff we always talk about."
Heaney held the Mariners scoreless the rest of the way, retiring 16 of the next 17 batters he faced after Healy reached on the wild pitch in the first. The Mariners put runners on first and second in the sixth after Healy reached on a two-out error by Ian Kinsler and Span singled, but Heaney coaxed a groundout from Zunino to escape the jam. He now leads all Angels starters with nine quality starts this season.
"At that point, it sucks that you're just trying to put up zeroes to kind of salvage a good outing and give us a chance to win," Heaney said. "Because sometimes that momentum is hard to gain back."
Noe Ramirez replaced Heaney in the eighth, but he yielded a leadoff home run to Cruz that extended the Mariners' lead to 4-1.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After LeBlanc departed the game, the Angels threatened in the eighth against Mariners reliever Alex Colome. Kole Calhoun, who entered the game to replace Young in the first inning, delivered a one-out double to left field before advancing to third on a flyout from David Fletcher. The Mariners then intentionally walked Trout to bring up Upton with runners on the corners and two outs. Upton lifted a fly ball to deep center field, but it died at the warning track, allowing Colome to escape the inning unscathed.
"Justin just missed that fastball that he flew out to center field on," Scioscia said. "That could have been a game-changer. Unfortunately, we just couldn't get enough done offensively."
The Angels are now 6-15 against left-handed starters this season.
Right-hander Garrett Richards (4-4, 3.42 ERA) will return from the disabled list and start for the Angels on Wednesday in their Fourth of July matinee against the Mariners at 1:10 p.m. PT at Safeco Field. Seattle will counter with right-hander Mike Leake (8-4, 4.01 ERA). Richards has been sidelined since June 15 with a left hamstring strain, but he made a rehab start with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Friday and threw a bullpen session on Monday. Richards is 6-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 20 career appearances against the Mariners.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.