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Back-to-back HRs can't extend Mariners' streak

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- The Mariners' eight-game winning streak has come to a close.

Seattle took a 7-4 loss to the Angels on Wednesday afternoon, dropping a decision for the first time since falling at Fenway Park on June 24. In that span, the Mariners doubled their cushion over the Angels for the second American League Wild Card spot from six games to 12, but Los Angeles brought that lead down to 11 with Wednesday's victory.

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SEATTLE -- The Mariners' eight-game winning streak has come to a close.

Seattle took a 7-4 loss to the Angels on Wednesday afternoon, dropping a decision for the first time since falling at Fenway Park on June 24. In that span, the Mariners doubled their cushion over the Angels for the second American League Wild Card spot from six games to 12, but Los Angeles brought that lead down to 11 with Wednesday's victory.

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The Mariners claimed a brief lead in the bottom of the second inning. Trailing, 1-0, Kyle Seager and Ryon Healy delivered back-to-back solo shots off Garrett Richards to give Seattle a 2-1 advantage.

Seager hit his 16th homer of the year on a 2-0 fastball, dropping it into the right-field seats on a shot projected at 367 feet by Statcast™. Healy waited just two pitches to add his 17th home run on a 1-0 fastball, a 397-foot blast over the Mariners bullpen in left field.

Video: LAA@SEA: Seager and Healy crush back-to-back jacks

But Mike Leake lasted just four-plus innings, giving up four runs (three earned) with four strikeouts while walking one. His start marked the first time a Mariners starting pitcher has gone fewer than five innings since June 22, a 14-10 loss in Boston.

"I didn't have my best stuff today," Leake said. "I was trying to battle with what I had."

Richards, activated off the 10-day disabled list prior to the game, was making his first start since June 13. He used 80 pitches to get through 5 1/3 innings, totaling eight strikeouts and one walk. Following the back-to-back homers, he retired 10 of his next 11 with six strikeouts.

Video: LAA@SEA: Richards strikes out 8 in return from DL

"You have to give credit to Richards," manager Scott Servais said. "He's got a really good breaking ball -- good slider, good curveball -- [he] threw a lot of them after we get a couple home runs on the fastball."

Later in the game, the Mariners had multiple chances with runners in scoring position. They got at least two runners on base in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, but only netted one run over the course of their final nine outs.

"Our guys did a great job putting pressure on; we played all 27 outs, just didn't get a lot of bigs hits," Servais said. "It does happen. You've got to give those guys some credit. They made some plays, they made some pitches to get out of those jams, but we keep putting that kind of pressure on teams -- no problem."

Video: LAA@SEA: Seager lines an RBI single to center

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jean Segura nearly cut the Angels' lead down in the bottom of the seventh inning, stroking a hump-back liner into shallow center with two down and the bases loaded.

But Angels second baseman David Fletcher turned, sprinted, leapt and backhanded the ball to take a base hit and at least one RBI away from Segura to maintain Los Angeles' 6-3 lead. The liner had a hit probability of 85 percent, per Statcast™.

Video: LAA@SEA: Fletcher makes acrobatic catch to escape jam

"I was over with the Angels when we drafted David Fletcher," Servais said. "Really heads-up player. Young guy trying to prove his worth here in the big leagues, and he is. His baseball IQ's very high, and great play at that point in the game."

SOUND SMART
Although Leake was pulled in the fifth inning after giving up three straight base hits, in terms of Statcast™'s hit probability, it was actually one of the sinkerballer's best frames of the day.

Mike Trout's double down the left-field line had a hit probability of just 31 percent, and the two singles that followed were ground balls that found holes in the infield with hit probabilities of 34 and 29 percent, making it very unlikely that all three would result in base hits.

Video: LAA@SEA: Pujols hits an RBI single up the middle

"That happens once in a while," Servais said. "We've been able to make all those plays. When you get on an eight-game winning streak, those balls turn into double plays and your shortstop gets there in time, there's just different things like that."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Mariners pulled off a 7-2-4 double play in the fifth inning when Shohei Ohtani sent a fly ball to left field with runners at the corners. Seattle left fielder Ben Gamel airmailed a throw straight to catcher Chris Herrmann, who took a few steps up the third-base line to catch the ball and fire across the diamond to Dee Gordon at second.

Video: LAA@SEA: Mariners turn a unique 7-2-4 double play

HE SAID IT
"It happens. A ball doesn't go your way, you don't make the big play. You don't get the break behind you. [But I'm] really happy with our starting pitching; that's why you win eight games in a row. You want to say, ah, it's your offense. It's starting pitching. Starting pitching and a real solid bullpen, and that's what we've been leaning on." -- Servais, on his team's longest winning streak since 2016

UP NEXT
Marco Gonzales will take the hill for the Mariners at 7:10 p.m. PT on Thursday coming off a career outing, going the distance in a 4-1 win over Kansas City. The Angels announced Wednesday that Tyler Skaggs will not make his scheduled start Thursday. Jaime Barria's start has been moved up by one day, but he'll still be pitching on six days' rest. Last time out, he held the Red Sox to two runs over 5 1/3 innings at Fenway Park.

David Gottlieb is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.

Seattle Mariners, Ryon Healy, Mike Leake, Kyle Seager