ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Seattle Mariners have demoted their two most promising youngsters, Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero, to triple A and struggling right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen out of the closer spot, and have two starters, center fielder Franklin Gutierrez and first baseman Justin Smoak, on the disabled list.
They have a pair of reclamation projects, Aaron Harang and Jeremy Bonderman, in the rotation, injured first baseman Michael Morse is hobbling around the bases like Kirk Gibson, circa October 1988, and their most productive hitter is 40-year-old outfielder Raul Ibanez.
Yet, the Mariners, despite their tale of woe, entered Monday with a better record than the Los Angeles Angels, which says a lot about an injury-plagued Angels team that has rarely played to its considerable potential, especially offensively, outside of a few stretches.
And then came Monday night, when the Angels pounded Harang and three relievers for a season-high 21 hits in an 11-3 victory over Seattle that propelled them ahead of the Mariners in the American League West and provided a loud reminder of how lethal they can be.
Albert Pujols had four hits, including a run-scoring double in a game-breaking, seven-run sixth inning, to raise his average from .256 to .266, and Alberto Callaspo had four hits, including a two-run single in the sixth, to raise his average from .234 to .250.
Peter Bourjos added three infield singles, and Josh Hamilton hit a two-run home run and a single. Eleven players had hits, and 18 of the hits were singles.
The 35th 20-hit game in franchise history provided a huge cushion for left-hander Jason Vargas, who gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings and had nine strikeouts to improve to 6-4.
The Angels rocked Harang for 12 hits in five innings but had only a 4-2 lead when the Mariners starter departed. And if not for a key break in the second, the Angels might have scored only once off Harang.
Singles by Hamilton and Pujols and Howie Kendrick’s double to right in the first gave the Angels a 1-0 lead. Callaspo singled to open the second and took second on Chris Iannetta’s groundout.
Seattle shortstop Carlos Triunfel fielded Bourjos’ grounder up the middle, but his throw pulled Morse off the bag on a play that was generously scored a single.
Mike Trout followed with a sacrifice fly to right that would have been the third out but for Triunfel’s miscue. Hamilton followed with his two-run home run to center that hit the glove of leaping outfielder Michael Saunders before carrying over the wall, for a 4-0 lead.
Nick Franklin’s two-run homer in the third pulled the Mariners to within 4-2, but the Angels blew the game open in the sixth with a rally that Bourjos sparked with an infield single against Carter Capps.
Trout walked, and after Hamilton struck out, Pujols doubled to right for a run. Mark Trumbo popped to short, but Kendrick walked to load the bases.
Erick Aybar chopped a grounder high off the plate for an RBI infield single, Callaspo hit a two-run single to right, and Iannetta hit an RBI single to left. Bourjos reached on an infield single, and two runs scored on Franklin’s throwing error on Trout’s grounder to second.