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Wells' baserunning blunder costs M's in loss

Pitching against former college teammate Jered Weaver seems to bring out the best in Jason Vargas.

The Seattle Mariners' left-hander pitched six scoreless innings and stranded six runners in scoring position, but didn't get any run support.

Weaver had the same problem, pitching nine shutout innings before Vernon Wells' RBI single in the 10th off rookie Dan Cortes gave the Los Angeles Angels a 1-0 victory over the Mariners on Friday night.

It was the fourth time in Vargas' last five starts that the Mariners didn't score while he was in the game. He is 0-5 over his last six starts with a 5.57 ERA since beating San Diego 6-0 with his third shutout of the season.

Vargas played one season with Weaver at Long Beach State, in 2004. The only other time they met in the regular season was May 18 at Seattle, when Vargas pitched seven innings of four-hit ball in a 3-0 victory that began a season-best six-game winning streak for the Mariners.

Weaver scattered seven hits, struck out eight and lowered his major league-leading ERA to 1.78. Last year's major league strikeout leader remained 8-1 with a 1.35 ERA over his last 14 outings overall, with two of the wins coming against the Mariners — including a five-hit shutout at Seattle on June 14. Weaver has allowed only one run over his last 30 innings against them.

"You have to make him get the ball up a little more in the zone," Seattle designated hitter Casper Wells said. "He's typically a fastball guy, and that's the way I thought he'd be pitching. But he threw a lot of sliders, and his slider is pretty deceptive with the way he throws. He just seems like he has the confidence when guys get into scoring position to make guys chase. You have to make him come into your zone."

Wells, in his fifth game with Seattle after getting traded from Detroit on July 30, made the baserunning blunder of the game to kill a rally in the eighth. First baseman Mark Trumbo fielded Tyavon Robinson's grounder with two on and got the force at second. Shortstop Erick Aybar had knew he had no chance to double up Robinson and instead threw to third baseman Alberto Callaspo for the tag on Wells after he rounded the bag too far.

"I was just being aggressive. I didn't have any intention of going home, but I wanted my momentum going that way in case something happened where Datzy (third base coach Jeff Datz) had to send me," Casper Wells said. "I mean, he had the hold-up sign for me, but it didn't necessarily mean for me that I had to stop on the bag. Before you knew it, the ball was there. This won't happen again."

Robinson made an auspicious major league debut, robbing Torii Hunter of a two-run homer with a leaping grab above the short fence in the left field corner to end the third inning.

"He hit it pretty good, but there's a low fence there so I just wanted to get over there and make an attempt," Robinson said. "After I did it, I put my hand up to let everybody know I caught the ball. Then I immediately turned to Torii and I was like, 'Oh, God, I've got to walk past him and he's going to kill me.' It was quite a sight."

Robinson was traded from the Dodgers to Boston on July 31 and then shipped to Seattle the same day for left-hander Erik Bedard. He became the ninth Mariner to make his major league debut this season after getting called up from Triple-A Tacoma. Robinson singled in the sixth inning for his first big league hit.

"He looked totally comfortable out there, and the whole time it looked like it was no big thing for him," Wells said. "I remember how I felt in my debut, when I threw out Dustin Pedroia at the plate from left field by a good 10 feet, but it wasn't nearly as spectacular a play as Trey made. That was one of the best catches I've ever seen. It was unbelievable."

Weaver pitched for the first time since he was hit with a six-game suspension last Tuesday, two days after he threw a pitch over the head of Detroit's Alex Avila in anger during the seventh inning of a 3-0 loss.

He appealed the suspension and thus was eligible to face the Mariners — a team he came in 7-0 against with a 2.01 ERA in 10 starts at Anaheim. Weaver is scheduled for a hearing next week when the Angels are in New York to play the Yankees, and the Angels will need someone to start in his place next Wednesday.

"I wasn't even thinking about the suspension, to tell the truth," Weaver said. "I'm going to go out and pitch just like I always do, regardless of the circumstances. It didn't even cross my mind. But I'm going to keep the appeal to have my voice heard a little bit and for them to hear my side of the story. We'll see what happens in New York."

Hunter led off the 10th with a single against Cortes (0-2), advanced on a wild pitch and came home when Wells lined a 2-2 pitch to left-center. The victory ended Seattle's three-game winning streak and sent the Mariners to their 17th loss in their last 19 games at Angel Stadium.

Angels closer Jordan Walden (3-3) pitched a perfect inning for the win.

Notes: Weaver pitched nine scoreless innings in a no-decision on May 28 against Minnesota, when Danny Valencia hit a bases-loaded single against Kevin Jepsen in the 10th to give the Twins a 1-0 win. ... All of Weaver's strikeouts were in the first four innings. ... Aybar was 0 for 3 against Vargas, and has no RBIs in 27 career at-bats against him.