Angels complete sweep of Mariners
SEATTLE — The Los Angeles Angels’ acquisition of Parker Bridwell keeps looking smarter.
The rookie right-hander, acquired April 17 from Baltimore for cash considerations or a player to be named later, pitched six strong innings Sunday afternoon to avenge his lone loss as the Angels defeated the Seattle Mariners 4-2 at Safeco Field.
C.J. Cron homered for the Angels (61-58), who won their season-high sixth consecutive game and completed a four-game sweep in Seattle during which they moved into sole possession of the American League’s second wild-card position.
Bridwell (7-1) allowed one run on four hits while walking one and striking out two.
“I felt good, the weather was perfect here, and I was able to execute my pitches,” Bridwell said. “We’re starting to get hot. ... It couldn’t come at a better time with the wild-card race.
The Angels improved to 10-1 in games in which Bridwell pitches. The only defeat came against the Mariners at Angel Stadium on June 30, when Bridwell allowed a career-high five earned runs on 11 hits in six innings of a 10-0 decision.
“He’s given us a shot in the arm,” said Cron, who hit a 415-foot blast in the third inning Sunday to tie the score at 1-1. “He’s kind of like that stopper for us. He’s done a good job and continues to impress.”
Trailing 4-1, the Mariners threatened in the ninth off Angels reliever Keynan Middleton, a rookie right-hander who earned victories the previous two nights.
Robinson Cano led off by legging out an infield single, and Nelson Cruz followed with a double into left-center field, the ball rolling all the way to the wall. After Kyle Seager struck out, Jarrod Dyson slapped a run-scoring single to left field.
Middleton, an Oregon native with friends and family in attendance, responded by getting Guillermo Heredia to fly out to shallow left field and Leonys Martin to fly out to right. Middleton earned his second save of the season.
“Keynan answered the bell this week,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s one thing to have a clean inning, and it’s another thing when there are runners at second and third with three shots at the tying run coming to the plate. He made pitches.”
Seattle scored off Bridwell in the first inning. Yonder Alonso walked with one out, moved to third on a double by Cano and came home on a sacrifice fly by Cruz, who leads the AL with 94 RBIs.
Bridwell retired the side in order in the second and third innings and overcame leadoff singles in each of his final three innings. He got out of each of those situations by retiring the next three batters after the leadoff hits.
“When guys get on with no outs, you just have to buckle down and tell yourself to execute pitches,” Bridwell said. “I’ve kind of gotten into a groove.”
The Mariners’ beleaguered bullpen, which allowed 13 runs in the first three games of the series, could have used a lengthy start by Ariel Miranda. However, the left-hander failed to deliver.
Miranda, who hasn’t won since that June 30 game against the Angels, was in trouble from the beginning.
Cameron Maybin doubled to the wall in right-center on Miranda’s first pitch of the game, and Mike Trout walked. Miranda (7-6) got out of the jam and stranded two more runners in the second.
With one out in the third, Miranda fell behind in the count 2-0 to Cron, who then launched his homer that went off the facade of the second deck in left field. It was Cron’s ninth homer of the season.
Miranda escaped after a leadoff walk in the fourth, but never made it out of the fifth.
After a walk to Trout, the third leadoff walk issued by Miranda in five innings, Albert Pujols singled — the ball glancing off of the glove of diving Seattle left fielder Heredia. After Cron struck out, Andrelton Simmons lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Angels a 2-1 lead.
A walk to Jefry Marte spelled the end for Miranda, who had been 4-0 in five previous starts against the Angels.
Left-hander James Pazos came on and walked Kole Calhoun to load the bases. Martin Maldonado fouled off a couple of two-strike pitches before lining a two-run single to left-center, making it 4-1.
Miranda walked six and struck out six in 4 2/3 innings. He was charged with four runs on four hits. Of his 96 pitches, only 50 were strikes.
“It kind of comes and goes (with Miranda),” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “His fastball has some life, then it goes. He wasn’t very sharp at all. The thing that hurt him today was the walks.”
The Mariners (59-60) dropped two games back in the wild-card race.
“It wasn’t a good weekend. We got outplayed,” Servais said. “We were right in all four games, but ...
“Our pitching struggled, we made some outs on the basepaths and our offense didn’t get clicking. We’ve got to get back going in the right direction.”
NOTES: The Angels swept a four-game series in Seattle for the first time since May 24-27, 2012. ... Mariners 2B Robinson Cano hit his 504th career double in the first inning, tying him with Roberto Alomar for 59th in major league history. With three more doubles, Cano would pass Alomar, Tony Perez and Babe Ruth, three Hall of Famers. ... The Mariners open a three-game series Monday against Baltimore at Safeco Field. RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-7, 5.38 ERA) is scheduled to start against his former team, facing Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (8-8, 5.21). ... The Angels have Monday off before a two-game interleague series in Washington. LHP Tyler Skaggs (1-2, 3.63) is scheduled to pitch Tuesday for Los Angeles Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (10-5, 2.59).