SEATTLE – Hideki Matsui hit a two-out, two-run homer in the seventh inning, barely eluding the glove of Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, and the Los Angeles Angels rallied for a 4-2 win over the Mariners on Wednesday night.
Held to just two hits entering the seventh by Seattle starter Jason Vargas, the Angels got started with Mike Napoli's leadoff double. Two outs later, Matsui jumped on an 0-1 fastball and got just enough for his 18th homer of the season. Suzuki climbed the right field fence, but couldn't pull back Matsui's drive.
It was Matsui's third career hit off Vargas, all homers.
Trevor Bell (2-4) picked up his first win of 2010 as a starter, throwing six innings and giving up nine hits but just two runs against the Mariners punchless offense.
Hard throwing righty Jordan Walden took over in the seventh and hit 100 mph several times on the stadium radar gun, giving up just Suzuki's 50th infield single of the season. Kevin Jepsen rebounded from his blown save loss a night earlier by striking out a pair in the eighth and Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 11 chances.
Matsui had walked and grounded out in his previous two at-bats against Vargas, who was attempting to snap a two-game losing streak. Instead, his losing skid was extended thanks to one poorly placed pitch.
Vargas' 0-1 fastball was waist high and Matsui didn't miss. He previously homered off Vargas last July in New York while still playing for the Yankees and earlier this season in Seattle.
Vargas (9-8) gave up just four hits in seven innings, pitching at least six innings for the ninth time in his last 11 starts. He struck out four and walked two.
Seattle's bullpen also struggled. Alberto Callaspo added a solo homer with two outs in the eighth off reliever Sean White, curling it just inside the right field foul pole.
Franklin Gutierrez did a little of everything for Seattle in the losing effort. He drove in the Mariners first run with an RBI single in the third, then helped plate another run in the fifth when Josh Wilson scored on Gutierrez's double play ground out and a 2-1 Mariners lead.
An inning later, Gutierrez kept Seattle ahead, at the time. With two outs in the sixth, Howie Kendrick drove a 1-1 pitch from Vargas about 400 feet. Gutierrez never slowed his stride, sprinting all the way to the warning track and then timing his jump to snag the drive just above the yellow line at the top of the wall. Vargas tipped his cap, while many of the sparse crowd at Safeco Field gave Gutierrez a standing ovation.
Bell became a starter for the Angels in late July, while still intermixing appearances out of the bullpen. Wednesday was his sixth start and backed up the promise the Angels saw in his last start when Bell went seven innings and gave up just two runs in a loss to Baltimore.
Bell struck out six and walked none in his seven innings. More important, he escaped jams with runners in scoring position in four of the first five innings. Seattle left eight on base.
NOTES: The Angels are now 12-4 against Seattle this season and went 7-2 at Safeco Field. ... Gutierrez made another fine running catch at the wall in the ninth inning on Napoli's drive. ... Seattle has extended its minor league agreements with Double-A West Tenn and Pulaski in the rookie Appalachian League.