ANAHEIM, Calif. — Not many runs were expected. Not many runs were scored. With All-Star starting pitcher Felix Hernandez and snubbed All-Star Garrett Richards matching up Saturday night, hitters for both the Mariners and Angels were in for a long and frustrating night.
Both pitchers delivered, allowing just a run each and a combined five hits in 15 innings pitched. Neither got a win for their efforts.
After playing 16 innings Friday night, the two teams felt that nine innings still weren’t enough. Instead, they battled for 12 innings Saturday with the Mariners finally prevailing, 3-2.
“Our guys weren’t tired, we were resilient,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.
But don’t expect any extra celebration for the 12-inning victory from McClendon, much the way he wouldn’t allow any added agony after the 16-inning defeat Friday.
“Yeah, we won a ballgame,” he said. “Just like last night, we’ve got about five more minutes and then we’ll turn the page for tomorrow.”
Seattle finally broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the 12th. Kyle Seager led off with a double off lefty sidearm specialist Joe Thatcher and Logan Morrison followed with a run-scoring double.
“It felt really good,” Morrison said. “It’s my first hit against the Angels this year.”
The Mariners (52-45) added to their lead. Endy Chavez put down a perfect infield bunt that hugged the line and somehow stayed fair for a hit. Justin Smoak later added an infield single with the bases loaded to drive in an insurance run.
“Yeah, we really crushed the ball there, didn’t we?” McClendon joked.
That extra run would loom large.
In the bottom of the 12th, David Freese hit the second pitch he saw from Dominic Leone out of the park to cut the lead to one. But Charlie Furbush came on to get final three outs for the first save of his career. Leone still got the victory to improve to 3-2.
Richards was perfect through five innings, and dominated Mariners hitters, striking out five and needing less than 70 pitches to do it.
But Dustin Ackley broke up the perfect game, lashing a double into the gap in left center to start the sixth inning. Brad Miller moved him to third with some solid situational hitting. Jesus Sucre then hit a soft line drive into left field to score Ackley.
But that lead wouldn’t hold. Albert Pujols battled Hernandez for an 11-pitch leadoff walk to start the bottom of the seventh.
“I threw everything at him,” Hernandez said. “I was ready to grab the rosin bag and throw it to him. It was a great at-bat.”
Josh Hamilton followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. It was the fourth walk of the game for Hernandez — a season high.
“I was not happy,” Hernandez said. “That’s what gets me in trouble when I walk people like that.”
Then things got a little goofy. Howie Kendrick hit a soft ground ball up the middle. Both Miller at shortstop and second baseman Robinson Cano converged on it. Miller went to second thinking Cano would grab it and flip to him. Cano pulled back thinking Miller would grab it, step on second and throw to first.
Instead, Miller had to make a late dive for the ball and then made the poor decision to try and throw to first from his knees. The ball bounced past Morrison and allowed the slow-footed Pujols to score.
“After the game, (Hernandez) said, ‘That’s my bad, skip,’” McClendon said. “I asked what he mean, and he said, ‘Well, I walked two guys in a row.’ That’s how good the guy is.”
Hernandez pitched seven innings, giving up one unearned run on two hits with four walks and nine strikeouts on 114 pitches.
It was his 12th consecutive start that he pitched seven or more innings and allowed two runs or fewer — it tied an American League record from 1907.
But Hernandez didn’t have a win to show for it.
“I just wanted to get my team the win,” he said. “We needed this win.
AL wild-card standings
The top two wild-card teams play each other in a one-game playoff.