By Pete Zarustica
One of the most exciting plays in baseball is when a runner slides into a base. But sliding in the standings is not the way to please the fans. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are skidding now, having lost four straight after falling 3-1 to the Seattle Mariners Sunday at Safeco Field.
The loss pushed the Halos’ record to 49-62, fourth place in the American League West, 15.5 games out of first and 12 out of a wild card spot. They are staying out of last thanks to the falling fortunes of the Oakland A’s, who also lost 3-1 Sunday, to the Chicago Cubs.
James Paxton (4-5) held the Angels to just five hits. He worked 8.1 innings, walking just one batter and striking out six, including whiffing Mike Trout four times. Paxton had to leave the game when struck on the arm by a comebacker.
Although Trout had a rough day at bat, he had a highlight play when he leaped high at the centerfield fence to rob Leonys Martin of a grand-slam home run.
The Mariners (57-53) got all their runs in the fourth, knocking around Matt Shoemaker (6-12), who otherwise had a strong performance. He went seven innings, giving up seven hits, striking out three and walking none.
“Paxton had good stuff and pitched a strong game,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Shoe had his back against the wall. In the fourth inning, we made some nice defensive plays to keep ourselves in it, but those guys kept pressuring us.”
For the Angels, the lone run was knocked in by Albert Pujols. His ground ball single brought in Andrelton Simmons from third in the top of the third, to give the Orange County team a short-lived 1-0 lead.
The Angels will have Monday off, and then travel to Chicago to take on the Cubs (69-41), who lead the National League Central Division by 11.5 games.