SEATTLE (AP) –Three games into his return to the bench and Eric Wedge has yet to see his Seattle Mariners be the slightest bit productive offensively.
“Not a great re-entry for myself here,” Wedge said with a slight chuckle.
Jered Weaver gave up just three hits in eight strong innings, Kole Calhoun added a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Angels completed a three-game sweep with a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
Seattle’s offensive slump continued, scoring just two runs the entire series against Los Angeles and scoring three or fewer runs in seven of its last 10 games. Wedge, who rejoined the Mariners on Friday after missing a month while recovering from a mild stroke, said hit batters are simply struggling to hit fastballs.
“We’re fouling off too many pitches we should be squaring up,” Wedge said. “When we’re really going good, we’re squaring up the fastball. We’re not missing the fastball. That’s not what we’re doing right now.”
The Angels gave Weaver plenty of run support by coming through in clutch situations. The Angels first seven runs were scored with two outs, including Calhoun’s homer, a two-run triple by Chris Nelson and an RBI triple from Peter Bourjos.
Weaver (8-7) continued the Angels pitching dominance in the three-game series, where they allowed two runs. His only mistake was giving up a solo home run to Dustin Ackley with one-out in the third inning on a 3-2 pitch. But Weaver followed by retiring 15 of the next 16 batters. He struck out eight, but wasn’t given the chance at his first complete game since August 2012.
Weaver rebounded from two straight losses with one of his best performances of the season. Weaver had won four straight decisions in July and early August before getting knocked around by the Yankees and Cleveland in his previous two starts.
He was back in top form against Seattle. Kendrys Morales singled with two outs in the fourth and was the last batter to reach base against Weaver until Ackley doubled with two outs in the eighth.
Weaver was at 102 pitches after the eighth, but manager Mike Scioscia brought in Cory Rasmus to pitch the ninth.
“My goal is to try and get extended and get out there and stay out there as much as possible,” Weaver said. “It’s up to (Scioscia) whether he wants me to keep going or shut it down.”
Seattle starter Aaron Harang (5-11) began fast, but was battered around in the fourth and sixth innings because he struggled with two outs. Harang retired 11 of the first 12 batters, striking out five and giving up only a second inning single to Hank Conger before his day rapidly fell apart in the fourth.
Josh Hamilton started the rally with a double, followed by Mike Trumbo just missing a home run and doubling off the right field wall to pull the Angels even at 1-1. Conger was intentionally walked and Nelson made Harang pay for the decision, slicing a fly ball that landed on the right-field foul line and bounced into the corner. Trumbo and Conger scored easily while Nelson raced around to third with his second triple. Grant Green then capped the inning beating out an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop that allowed Nelson to score.
The Angels finally knocked out Harang in the sixth, again sending eight batters to the plate and doing it all with two outs. Green’s two-out bloop single was followed by Bourjos’ RBI triple off the left-center wall. Calhoun then ended Harang’s day with his fourth homer of the season and first since Aug. 6.
Harang struck out seven, but allowed seven earned runs for the third time in August and fourth time in his last eight starts.
“I feel like they started to be aggressive and swing at first pitches. I was throwing first-pitch strikes early in the game and getting them behind and getting them to chase pitches. I think once the lineup switched over for the second time, they came out swinging early and trying to make something happen. Obviously, it worked.
Seattle’s lone highlight was Ackley’s homer, his first at Safeco Field in more than a year. After slumping early in the season and going down to the minors, Ackley is hitting .330 in his last 26 games.
“I was telling somebody when I came in, I was like, `That felt pretty weird, jogging around the bases. I haven’t done that in a while,”‘ Ackley said. “It was definitely good to get a good swing on the ball, get a ball in the air, glad it got out of there.”
Notes: Weaver improved to 13-8 all-time against Seattle in 27 career starts. The 13 wins are tied for most against any one team (Texas). … The Angels now have swept four series of at least three games on the road this season. … Seattle OF Michael Saunders missed his second straight game due to neck stiffness.