The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim managed to claim the first game of a weekend set with Seattle and keep pace with the leaders in the American League West with the help of a little walk-off magic on Friday night at Angel Stadium.
After loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth, a Josh Kinney wild pitch allowed Peter Bourjos to score, giving Los Angeles the 6-5 win over the Mariners.
Early on it looked as though Seattle was going to run away with the game after an explosive third inning, with homers from Dustin Ackley and John Jaso to give the Mariners a 5-0 lead.
Mike Trout answered for the Angels in the bottom of the third inning with a three-run homer, his 21st of the season. Trout added two more RBI in the fifth inning when a sacrifice fly plated two runners, matching a career-high with five RBI and tying the game at 5-5. The game would remain tied until the game- winning run crossed in the bottom of the ninth.
Ervin Santana was shaky for the Halos, allowing five runs (4 earned) in 6 1/3 innings. The bullpen picked up the slack with 2 2/3 scoreless innings, highlighted by Ernesto Frieri (1-0) striking out the side in a perfect ninth.
Though he allowed just six base runners over seven innings of work, Felix Hernandez gave up four earned runs, raising his ERA to a still-great 2.74. Kinney (0-2) was saddled with the loss.
Jesus Montero went 2-for-4 for the Mariners, giving him five multi-hit games in his last six.
Hisashi Iwakuma will take the hill for the Mariners on Saturday night. In 20 appearances this season, he's 2-3 with a 4.20 ERA, though he's been effective since joining the rotation with a 3.71 ERA in six starts.
The Japanese right-hander earned a loss his last time out, allowing seven hits, two walks, and four runs (3 earned) in five innings of work to the Yankees on Aug. 5. He's just two starts removed from a career-high 13 strikeouts in a 4-1 win over the Blue Jays on July 30.
Iwakuma has pitched poorly in nine appearances away from Safeco Field, going 0-1 with a 6.12 ERA on the road.
The Angels will counter with Dan Haren, who has been far from his usual top- of-the-rotation self in 2012. He's just 8-8 with a 4.44 ERA, and batters are hitting .281 against him, nearly thirty points higher than his career mark.
Luckily for Los Angeles, the veteran right-hander has seemed to turn the corner of late. Since coming off the DL in late July, Haren is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts. He pitched six innings of one-run ball against the White Sox on Aug. 5, though he earned a no decision in the 4-2 loss.
"His stuff was much crisper," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Haren following his last start. "That's a positive we'll take moving forward."
Haren is no stranger to facing the Mariners, as his 20 starts against them are the most he's made against any team, and he's been great in those outings, going 11-5 with a 2.43 ERA.
LA has taken six of eight over Seattle so far this season.