By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Rookie left-hander Roenis Elias steadied Tuesday night after a shaky start that included four doubles in a three-run second inning. The Mariners nearly erased a pair of three-run deficits against Angels ace Jered Weaver.
And that, really, tells you all you need to know about this 6-4 loss for the Mariners at Safeco Field. Too late and too little. You can go on to other things at this point.
“I thought we battled all night with (Weaver),” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We got close, (but) no ice cream tonight. That’s just the way it goes.”
Want more? OK, the details:
Elias (3-4) pitched into the seventh inning before exiting, down 4-3, with one out and a runner on third. In came Dominic Leone to face Mike Trout, who delivered a sacrifice fly to deep right.
That meant Weaver (6-3) handed off a two-run lead when Sean Burnett started the seventh. Weaver gave up three runs and seven hits in his six innings.
“He’s a cross-fire guy,” said Nick Franklin, who had two of the Mariners’ nine hits. “He’s been in the league for a while. He’s got an idea for what he’s going to do to each hitter.”
True enough, but the Mariners know they caught Weaver on an off-night and didn’t do enough.
“He really pitched without his best stuff tonight,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, “and he got through six innings. … Weave’s got great feel out there, and (he) felt his way through six innings.”
Burnett retired Michael Saunders on a pop to short before departing because of an elbow injury. Burnett is returning to Los Angeles for further examination, but Scioscia acknowledged it “looks like disabled list.”
Fernando Salas replaced Burnett and surrendered a single to Robinson Cano but Justin Smoak, who homered earlier against Weaver, grounded into a double play.
The Angels then extended their lead to 6-3 when C.J. Cron led off the eighth by crushing an 0-2 fastball from Tom Wilhelmsen for a homer.
Wilhelmsen avoided further problems when he ignored Chris Iannetta after a two-out single. Iannetta strolled into second without a throw, but Wilhelmsen struck out Collin Cowgill.
Joe Smith worked around a one-out walk in the Mariners’ eighth before Ernesto Frieri closed out Weaver’s victory. Frieri gave up a run but got his seventh save and pushed the Mariners back under .500 at 25-26.
The start: Elias breezed through the first inning, but the Angels rocked him for three runs on four hard-hit doubles in the second.
David Freese led off with a twisting drive to deep center. Cron followed with a drive over the head of left fielder Dustin Ackley before Erick Aybar ripped a drive into the left-center gap.
Elias retired Grant Green on a drive to right, but Iannetta made it 3-0 with an RBI double to left.
“They just hit the ball well that inning,” Elias said through an interpreter. “There were a few pitches that were a little high, but there’s nothing you can do about it now.”
The Mariners got one run back in the bottom of the inning when Dustin Ackley pulled a two-out double into the right-field corner, and Franklin followed with an RBI single.
Franklin’s single snapped a 0-for-11 drought.
Elias stranded two runners in the third and avoided major problems in the fourth after the Angels loaded the bases with no outs. Green singled up the middle; Iannetta was hit by a pitch; and Cowgill bunted for a single.
Kendrick’s double-play grounder produced a run for a 4-1 lead, but Elias held it there. Smoak then opened the Mariners’ fourth with a no-doubt homer to right.
The Mariners weren’t done. They loaded the bases with two outs and got an assist from Weaver with a run-scoring wild pitch. They left the tying and go-ahead runners in scoring position when James Jones popped to third.
Weaver also stranded two runners in the fifth, and left the tying run at second in the sixth. The Mariners also put the tying runs on base in the ninth against Frieri but left them there.