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Mariners top Angels after pair of bee swarm delays

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The Canadian Press
9/22/2013 8:54:08 PM
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- C.J. Wilson wasn't threatened by the swarm of bees that took over the Angel Stadium field during two brief game delays.

With little help from his teammates, the Los Angeles Angels' durable left-hander couldn't avoid a streak-snapping loss.

Justin Smoak hit a tiebreaking two-run homer, Felix Hernandez had 10 strikeouts in a four-inning start and the Seattle Mariners beat the Angels 3-2 Sunday in a game delayed twice by bees.

Both teams retreated to their dugouts during an initial 23-minute delay in the third inning when the bees roamed over the right side of the field and eventually hovered near the ficus trees beyond the wall in centre.

The Angels had two runners on and two outs when the bees interrupted. Most fans stayed in their seats as a few brave grounds crew members and crowd volunteers attempted to deter the swarm with a broom, a Gatorade cooler and a cardboard box.

"That dude just came out of the stands and said 'It's OK. I'm a beekeeper,"' Wilson said. "It was like a 'Seinfeld' episode. Do you tip a bee guy? Throw him a 20? I don't carry cash on me when I'm pitching, so it wouldn't have been me."

Hernandez escaped a bases-loaded jam when the game resumed, but there was another short delay in the fourth when Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun began swatting at more bees in the outfield.

"I thought they had gotten rid of all of them, and then when I got out there, all the fans were yelling: 'They're on the ground! They're on the ground!"' Calhoun said. "So I'm looking around and I see them swarming and stuff, and then I see a pile of bees on the ground -- hundreds and hundreds of bees. There were bees everywhere. I had to call (umpire) Jim Joyce over there."

A quick blast from the fire extinguisher dissuaded the bees from sticking around.

"Kole was really freaking out all of a sudden because I guess there was a softball-size bee colony that was swarming on the ground," Wilson said. "It was amazing. I've never seen that before."

Wilson (17-7) pitched eight-hit ball into the ninth inning but lost for the first time since July 5 against Boston, ending streaks of nine straight victories and 13 consecutive starts without a loss. The left-hander struck out nine while reaching 200 innings for the fourth consecutive season.

Wilson had two outs and two strikes before Smoak lifted a tailing fly into the short stands down the left-field line. The homer was Smoak's 18th this season, but his first batting right-handed.

Wilson got a big ovation when he left with one out in the ninth after 123 pitches. He has been the Angels' best pitcher in their disappointing season, going 13-1 with a 2.91 ERA in his previous 18 starts since June 14.

"It's frustrating to get outpitched, but it happens," Wilson said.

Calhoun hit a solo homer in the eighth inning, and Efren Navarro got his first career RBI for the Angels, who couldn't finish off a three-game sweep. Los Angeles had won nine of 11 and 21 of 28 for the majors' best record since late August despite getting eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday.

Los Angeles had plenty of opportunities to help out Wilson, but stranded three runners in the seventh and two more in the eighth.

Despite the bees' rude interruptions, Hernandez set a major league record for strikeouts in a four-inning start. King Felix hadn't pitched in 20 days since leaving a loss at Kansas City on Sept. 2 with a strained oblique muscle.

Hernandez walked four and gave up a run in the Angels' second-inning rally, but otherwise looked sharp in his return to the rotation.

"I was just trying not to overthrow, just throw strikes," said Hernandez, who left feeling fine after 92 pitches. "It was a little different with the bees. I was talking to the guys: 'I'm going to be in the clubhouse if they come over here."'

Oliver Perez (3-3) struck out the side in the fifth inning after relieving Hernandez. Danny Farquhar, the Mariners' fifth reliever, pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 19 chances.

"We had to use a lot of guys, most of which were tired and at the end of their ropes, but they did fine," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said.

Mike Zunino had an early RBI double in just the third win in 14 games for the Mariners.

NOTES: Just eight pitchers have thrown 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. ... Seattle had lost five straight to Los Angeles. ... The Angels' last five games have been decided by one run.

Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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  • [1] Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
  • [2] Mike Trout, CF, L.A. Angels of Anaheim
  • [3] Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pittsburgh
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