The Seattle Mariners (19-14) ran into the best the American League and maybe Major League Baseball had to offer at this point in the season Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field when they faced the Los Angeles Angels (21-13) in the rubber match of the three-game series. The Mariners gave it the old college try by trotting out Ace Felix Hernandez but the King was no match for 23- year old Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani and six-time MLB All-Star Mike Trout.
The 2014 and 2016 American Leagues Most Valuable player was simply on fire Sunday afternoon and the series with the Mariners. Trout went 3-for-4 and hit a three-run homer in the Angels 8-2 win over the Mariners. Sunday was Trout’s third consecutive game with three hits. Trout is now batting 545 (12-22) with three doubles, two triples, two home run, six RBIs and eight walks over six games in the month of May. Trout is hitting 336 with a 1.178 OPS for the season.
“We made a lot of mistakes against him,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “You can’t make mistakes against Mike Trout. He will make you pay. For whatever reason, there were some balls in the middle of the plate and he doesn’t miss ’em. It’s a credit to him. He was in the middle of everything all series. He’s got a little better supporting cast around him this year and we have to certainly do a better job against him going forward this season.”
While Trout was swatting away at every hittable pitch the Mariners threw his way, Ohtani was playing hide and go seek with the Mariner hitters. Ohtani was sharp and masterful early and took a shutout bid into the seventh inning before Ryon Healy’s two-run homer. Ohtani allowed six hits, two walks and struck out six batters in his first outing since April 24th. The pitching gem lowered Ohtani’s ERA to 4.10.
As for Hernandez Sunday was not his best effort of the season performance wise. The effort was their but the results were not. Hernandez (4-3, 5.28 ERA) gave up a pair of solo homers in the second to Zack Cozart and Chris Young and finished his 5 2/3 innings start with five runs allowed on seven hits and four walks.
“I just need to keep the ball in the ballpark,” Hernandez said after the game. “That’s all I need to do. From now on, that’s my goal. I need to keep it out of the middle and not make any mistakes. Because the last four games, I’ve given up homers every game. That can’t happen.”
While Sunday loss to the Angels concluded in the Mariners second series of the season, the Mariners are just 1 1/2 games back from the Angels, for now, lead the AL West. The Mariners are 7-2-2 in their first 11 series played, with the two series losses to the Hoston Astro and the Angels.
Sunday’s loss comes on the back of the Mariners improbable come back win the night before. Ryon Healy’s walk-off single gave the Mariners their first extra-inning win of the season. The Mariners scored twice in the bottom of the 11th to give the Mariners the 9-8 win in a game that lasted four hours and 29th minutes.
“It’s just competing,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said after his team scored twice in the 11th to pull out the win. “It says a lot about our ballclub and clubhouse. This is going to be a fun season. There’s going to be quite a few games like that. And hopefully, we’re on the right side of them.”