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Angels chase Harang early to take down Mariners

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Associated Press
4/27/2013 2:19:06 AM
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SEATTLE -- C.J. Wilson had 'electric" stuff for the first three innings against the Seattle Mariners then it was like someone pulled the plug.

Wilson, the Los Angeles Angels ace who had a five-run lead after three innings, worked out of two tense bases-loaded jams to secure a 6-3 victory over the Mariners on Friday night.

Hank Conger and Mark Trumbo provided most of the offence as each hit a two-run homer while Albert Pujols has a pair a sac-flies.

"C.J., at times, was electric tonight. And, at times, it was rough," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "We had a 5-run lead and he was having trouble getting the ball in the zone, putting hitters away. He had to get out of some bases-loaded jams a couple times, which is a good sign, and he minimized the damage."

Wilson (2-0) went 5 1-3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs. He walked two and struck out a season-high nine.

Ernesto Frieri pitched the ninth for his third save in three chances.

The Angels would not let Mariners' starter Aaron Harang (0-3) settle in. They scored in each of the first three innings for a 5-0 lead, chasing Harang before the fourth.

Peter Bourjos opened the game with a single followed by Mike Trout's hit. Bourjos took third and scored on Albert Pujols' sacrifice fly to centre.

Conger connected in the second inning, his first home run, and Trumbo hit his third in the third.

The scoring outburst ended the Mariners' 18-0 scoring run over the Angels that included Thursday's 6-0 victory and a 12-0 decision on the final game of 2012.

The Mariners still have not won consecutive games since the season's first two games. They were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 15 runners stranded.

Kyle Seager singled in the fourth to give him a career-high 15-game hit streak, longest in the majors this season. He is batting .393 during the streak with seven doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI.

Wilson allowed just an infield single through the first three innings, throwing 35 pitches. He would through 62 pitches during his the fourth and fifth when the Mariners loaded the bases each inning with fewer than two outs.

"They were like, 'OK, let's stop getting out,"' said Wilson of the Mariners hitters. "They went really aggressive the first couple innings, chasing pitches. After that, they got better as the game went on. All my hits I gave up with strikes"

Seager and Kendrys Morales opened the fourth with singles and Michael Morse earned a nine-pitch walk to load the bases with no outs. After Justin Smoak struck out, Kelly Shoppach was hit by a pitch, forcing in a run. He has been hit 55 times in his career, the second time with the bases loaded.

Wilson then struck out Robert Andino and Endy Chavez.

A pair of singles by Brendan Ryan and Jason Bay in the fifth was followed by one-out walk to Morales, loading up more trouble for Wilson. But he got Morse on an infield popup and struck out Smoak.

"I was really happy not to cave in when they had the bases loaded a couple times," Wilson said. "I pitched out of some jams."

That ended in the sixth when the Mariners finally scored a pair of runs. Shoppach singled and Andino doubled. Chavez hit a sac-fly to centre, scoring Shoppach and ending Wilson's evening.

Ryan then greeted reliever Sean Burnett with a first-pitch squeeze bunt, scoring Andino to make it 5-3.

"I love the way our guys fought tonight," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "When you get down early like that it can be easy for the game to get away from you."

The critical play in the game came with two outs in the sixth and Smoak on second. Pinch-hitter Dustin Ackley bounced a ball through the right side but second baseman Howie Kendrick knocked it down and it rolled a few feet away from him. Smoak was sent home.

"Once I dove and saw the ball kick off, I could see Smoak out of the corner of my eye that he rounded the base," Kendrick said. "So I just assumed he was going. Once I got the ball I got up and threw it."

Smoak was tagged out on a close play.

"That was as good of an agility play you'll see a second baseman make," Scioscia said. "First to get to the ball, knock it down then regain his feet and throw on run like that was impressive."

Notes: OF Michael Saunders (right AC joint) joined Triple-A Tacoma in Las Vegas Friday for a rehab assignment. "The earliest (return) would be Monday," Wedge said. "We'll see how he feels." Mariners' prized prospect, LHP Danny Hultzen, has been diagnosed with a strained left rotator cuff and tendinitis. He will rest and rehab for two weeks. Jason Bay, hitting .220, started as the leadoff hitter for the first time in his 10-year career. ... With Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo on the DL, Scioscia said, "what's missing is the balance they give you. They're both switch-hitters. We didn't match up as well (Thursday) as we could have."

Kendrick and Trout celebrate (Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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