Two things the Seattle Mariners can usually count on — Felix Hernandez and sound defense — were lacking Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels.
Hernandez was staked to a 5-0 lead thanks to a two-run homer from Dustin Ackley and a three-run shot by John Jaso, both in the third inning. But the Angels tied it with a three-run homer and two-run sacrifice fly by rookie sensation Mike Trout, and Josh Kinney uncorked a wild pitch in the ninth that allowed the winning run to score in the Mariners' 6-5 loss.
Hernandez, coming off a two-hitter in a 1-0 win at Yankee Stadium last Saturday, had allowed one home run in his previous 12 starts and 82 2-3 innings since giving up back-to-back homers by Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn of the White Sox on June 1 at Chicago. But Trout got the Angels off the deck in the third with his 21st homer — three days after turning 21.
"Felix didn't have his sharpest stuff tonight," Jaso said. "It was tough for him to throw his changeup righty-on-righty, and that's what Trout hit out. But I definitely don't want to take anything away from Trout because he's proven himself to be a great player. And driving that ball to right field to get that sac fly shows you right there how good he is. He stayed inside of it, knew what to do and hit it hard."
Hernandez was charged with five runs — four earned — and five hits in seven innings. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner was 6-0 with a 1.41 ERA over his previous 10 starts, lowering his ERA from 3.70 to 2.63 prior to facing the Angels. In two starts against them this season, he has yielded nine earned runs in 13 innings.
"I thought they did a pretty good job of laying off some of his pitches, but he did a pretty good job of not giving in to them," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He had a really good breaking ball and a good fastball, but the changeup wasn't quite what it normally is. We gave them a couple of runs, and that proved to be the difference."
Trout's homer came after Howie Kendrick led off with a double and Erick Aybar reached on an error by shortstop Brendan Ryan, who came in leading AL shortstops with a .993 fielding percentage. Aybar was running on the 3-2 pitch to Trout.
"We've been pretty good defensively and with our overall awareness out there, but the last couple of games we've made some uncharacteristic mistakes," Wedge said. "On the error that Ryno made, he was a little bit aggressive mentally by peeking at the runner going to third, and that messed him up a little bit."
The Angels tied it 5-all in the fifth. Trout was credited with two RBIs when Eric Thames caught his fly ball in the right-field corner after a long run and collided with the short fence. Thames threw toward second base, and Aybar kept running all the way from second as third base coach Dino Ebel waved him home behind Kendrick.
"On that play right there, you know that all three runners are going to tag up, and the guy at third base is definitely going to score," Wedge said. "The guy at second base is definitely going to get to third base, so what you have to do is control the baseball and make sure the guy at second doesn't come all the way around. So Eric needed to hit the cutoff man, but what he ended up doing was (throwing over) him."
Trout also had five RBIs on Aug. 30, 2011, at Seattle — a three-run homer, a solo shot and a bases-loaded walk. He is the first player to get two RBIs on a sacrifice fly since teammate Albert Pujols did it with the Cardinals on June 7, 2009, against Colorado.
"You're talking about one of the best pitchers in the game — and Trout stood up to him. That's the type of player he is," Angels right fielder Torii Hunter said. "It shows he has the plate discipline. It doesn't matter who's on the mound. He's not afraid. He's ready to go. And that's what I love about him. He's a bulldog."
Kendrys Morales led off the ninth with his second double of the game and Peter Bourjos pinch-ran for him. Alberto Callaspo was intentionally walked, and both runners advanced on Kendrick's sacrifice. Another intentional pass to Aybar brought up pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis, who watched a 1-2 pitch from Kinney (0-2) get past Jaso.
Angels closer Ernesto Frieri (1-0) earned his first American League win, striking out the side in the ninth on 13 pitches.
Ervin Santana was charged with four earned runs and five hits over 6 1-3 innings. He struck out six.
NOTES: Hernandez and Santana are among four active pitchers with 200 or more big league starts who have made all of them with one team. The others are Detroit's Justin Verlander and San Francisco's Matt Cain. ... Ryan returned to the lineup after missing four games because of a bruised left elbow. ... Callaspo, who had a pinch-hit grand slam against Hernandez in the Angels' 5-3 victory on May 26 at Safeco Field, was 0 for 3 against him.