SEATTLE -- A bleak day for the Angels turned even bleaker after Mitch Haniger launched a walk-off home run off Oliver Drake in the ninth to lift the Mariners to an 8-6 win in Wednesday's series finale, completing a three-game sweep at Safeco Field.Nolan Fontana and Chris Young had homered
SEATTLE -- A bleak day for the Angels turned even bleaker after Mitch Haniger launched a walk-off home run off Oliver Drake in the ninth to lift the Mariners to an 8-6 win in Wednesday's series finale, completing a three-game sweep at Safeco Field.
Nolan Fontana and Chris Young had homered to give the Angels a 6-4 lead in the seventh, but Richard Parker couldn't hold it, yielding an RBI double to Jean Segura and a game-tying solo home run to Ryon Healy in the eighth.
The Mariners completed their rally in the ninth after Segura delivered a one-out single and Haniger hammered a splitter from Drake out to left field to saddle the Angels with their fourth consecutive defeat. It wasn't the only loss the Angels suffered, as they also saw right-hander Garrett Richards and Zack Cozart exit with injuries on Wednesday.
The Angels were forced to turn to their bullpen early, as Richards departed his start after two innings with left hamstring tightness. Richards allowed two runs on four hits and threw only 35 pitches in the abbreviated outing. Four of the five relievers who followed gave up runs to the sizzling Mariners, who have now won 11 of their last 13 games to surge 7 1/2 games ahead of the Angels in the American League West.
"We did a good job on the offensive side," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We hit the ball hard. Pressured them. We had a lot of opportunities. Those guys battled back. They battled back and got us a lead. Unfortunately, it was one of those days where our bullpen was stretched a bit. We had to use them a lot, and we just couldn't get it done at the end."
Young and David Fletcher, who made his MLB debut on Wednesday, produced three hits apiece, while Michael Trout continued to terrorize the Mariners by going 2-for-3 and reaching base four times. Trout is now batting .640 (16-for-25) against Seattle this season.
Richards opened the game by retiring the first four batters he faced, but Denard Span, Healy and Ben Gamel delivered three consecutive one-out singles to put the Mariners on the board in the second. Mike Zunino followed with an RBI double to extend Seattle's lead to 2-0, but Richards struck out Andrew Romine and coaxed a groundout from Dee Gordon to avoid further damage.
The Angels pulled within one after Ian Kinsler doubled and scored on Trout's RBI single in the third, but reliever Noe Ramirez replaced Richards in the bottom half of the inning and yielded a two-run home run to Nelson Cruz that gave the Mariners a 4-1 lead.
Still, the Angels responded by scoring two runs in the fourth on Fletcher's first Major League hit. After Martin Maldonado and Young singled, Fletcher delivered a two-run triple into the right-center-field gap to narrow the deficit to 4-3.
"It was good to get out there and get comfortable," Fletcher said. "They kept the ball for me, which is pretty cool. I think I'm going to go give it to my dad."
The Angels tied the game in the sixth with the help of a defensive miscue by the Mariners' outfield. Young lifted a catchable fly ball to right-center field, but miscommunication between Haniger and Gamel allowed the ball to fall for a leadoff triple. Young then scored on Luis Valbuena's sacrifice fly.
Fontana, who entered the game after Cozart departed with a left shoulder strain, briefly put the Angels ahead with an opposite-field blast off Chasen Bradford that hit the top of the wall in left field and went out for his first home run of the season. Fontana now has two career hits in the Majors, both of which have been home runs.
Young added another solo home run to push the Angels' lead to 6-4, and the Halos then used an unusual play at the plate to stymie a Mariners rally in the seventh.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Gordon led off the seventh inning with a single and scored on Segura's double to pull Seattle within one. Segura advanced to third on Young's throw to the plate, putting the tying run on third with no outs. After Haniger struck out, Cruz flew out to Justin Upton in left field, but Upton then uncorked an errant throw up the third-base line, forcing Maldonado to dive for the ball. Segura attempted to score on the play, but he was tagged out at the plate by Fletcher for the final out of the inning.
The Mariners challenged the ruling, but the call was upheld following a replay review.
"The throw was a little off-line, and I kind of jumped for it," Fletcher said. "I saw Maldonado leave the plate, and I saw Segura take off, so my instincts took over to go cover the plate."
Added Scioscia: "He's got a great baseball IQ. I think he was in the right spot for the cut-off and then took it one step further when the throw was off line and he couldn't get it. He knew that there had to be a little help at home, and he got back there. He reacted well." More >
The Angels will head to Oakland for the final leg of their nine-game road trip to open a three-game series against the A's on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. PT at the Oakland Coliseum. Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (5-4, 3.08 ERA) will oppose right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-2, 2.27 ERA) in the series opener. In his first two starts of June, Skaggs is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA. He last pitched against the A's on March 30, when he fired 6 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up a win in his season debut.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.