ANAHEIM, Calif. — Aaron Harang began a long, slow fourth inning walk back to the dugout, likely uncertain whether he’ll get another chance to do that again wearing a Mariners uniform.
Any hope Harang had of continuing to start for the Mariners was taken out of his hands Tuesday night when he surrendered more extra-base hits in the fourth inning of this 12-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels than his team used to get in some series.
Harang serving up a home run, two triples and two doubles in that one inning alone was enough for the Mariners to yank him early once again and start their bullpen off on another long night of work.
And the night got longer for the bullpen as it moved along. Mike Trout capped the onslaught for the home side by hitting for the cycle with a solo home run off Lucas Luetge in the bottom of the eighth inning. Trout had also doubled during a four-run sixth inning by the Angels after notching a triple off Harang during his fourth-inning implosion.
The single for Trout was an infield chopper toward the right side in which he outraced Harang to the bag.
Trout, 21, becomes the youngest player to hit for the cycle since Mel Ott of the New York Giants in 1929. He becomes the sixth player to hit for the cycle against the Mariners, the most recent prior one being Aaron Hill of the Arizona Diamondbacks last June.
Josh Hamilton and Howie Kendrick also went deep for the Angels, while the Mariners were blanked for the second time in three games as starter Jerome Williams went eight innings for the victory.
The back-end of the rotation has been a problem all season for the Mariners and the latest implosion comes at another key moment in their season. This fifth consecutive loss, in front of 34,095 at Angel Stadium, drops the Mariners to 2-6 on a trip that concludes here Wednesday afternoon.
After that, a series against the first-place Texas Rangers ensues at Safeco Field following an off-day and the Mariners face the very real prospect of one of those season-crushing losing streaks if they can’t get things turned around fast. An off-day on Thursday will provide the club a chance to make needed rotation slotting and rest adjustments, and any roster changes they may be contemplating.
Hector Noesi had a decent spot-start for the Mariners at Yankee Stadium last week when Harang was skipped because of lower-back stiffness. The team could opt to bring Noesi back up for another start if Harang’s spot is pushed back an extra day—satisfying the minimum 10 days Noesi has to spend in Class AAA after being optioned there.
The Mariners could also designate Harang for assignment and call up Jeremy Bonderman from AAA. Bonderman has an opt-out clause in his contract that enables him to become a free agent if he isn’t added to the big league roster by June 1.
Harang looked shaky right off the bat in this game, grooving a pitch up and down the middle of the plate to Erick Aybar, who belted it for a double. Albert Pujols later singled to bring him home for a 1-0 lead.
Moments later, Hamilton connected for a blast over the left field wall and it was a 3-0 game before the Mariners could even really get warmed up. Harang got through a couple of innings with just the Trout infield hit allowed, but had nothing left by the fourth.
That’s when Hamilton led off with a triple to right-center that Michael Morse played rather awkwardly, followed moments later by a Kendrick shot over the wall in right to make it a 5-0 game.
Alberto Callaspo doubled after that and scored soon after on an Aybar double. Trout would follow with his triple from there to make it 7-0 and Harang was pulled at that point in favor of Danny Farquhar.