Mariners' Kevin Millwood pounded by Los Angeles Angels
Millwood gave up five runs over five innings as the Angels coasted to a 9-1 win.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Los Angeles Angels @ Seattle,
1:05 p.m., Ch. 13
One standard for the Mariners during their now-ended home winning streak was the knowledge their starting pitcher would keep them in the game.
But that just wasn't happening with Kevin Millwood on a Friday night in which he needed 117 pitches just to make it through five innings. About the only target Millwood consistently hit was opposing bats, and this 9-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels was pretty much sealed early as a result.
"I wasn't very good from the first pitch," Millwood said. "Nothing was really working. I wasn't locating the ball. And it showed."
Millwood had seen some August struggles, going 0-3 with a 5.76 earned-run average for the month coming into the game. But nothing like this, as he served up a three-run homer to Kendrys Morales in the first inning, then watched the Mike Trout speed show take over from there on the basepaths as well as the field.
Trout scored three runs, including his 104th of the season in the second inning to set a new rookie record for the Angels franchise. He added his 105th by the fourth inning to open up a 5-1 lead as Seattle's eight-game home win streak was snapped in front of 17,739 fans at Safeco Field.
Torii Hunter added a run-scoring double in the sixth off reliever Carter Capps to bring home Trout with his 106th run of the season. The Angels added three more in the ninth off Lucas Luetge, two of them on a Bobby Wilson home run.
Angels starter Dan Haren survived a 28-pitch first inning in which he allowed an unearned run. Haren then went on to allow only five hits in seven innings, his longest outing in three months.
The Mariners had won 15 of 16 at home coming into the game and were 28-17 in the second half, largely because of a rotation that hasn't had many nights like this. Millwood was at 97 pitches just four innings in and had already walked four batters to that point, yet the Mariners still sent him back out rather than conserve his arm for his next start.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he wanted to spare his bullpen the added inning of work, even though Felix Hernandez is slated to pitch Saturday and hasn't needed relievers a whole lot. The Mariners can expand their rosters as of Saturday and Class AAA pitcher Erasmo Ramirez could take Millwood's spot on an extra day's rest next Wednesday if needed, but Wedge said the team hasn't considered such a move yet.
"I want to see how he feels tomorrow," Wedge said. "He was better later than he was earlier. He just had trouble finding it early on there. As I've mentioned before, he's a great competitor. We just didn't have a good day as a ballclub. It was just one of those days."
The Angels, meanwhile, had some great stuff happening on the mound, at the plate and in the field. They turned a pair of eye-catching double plays in the second and third innings to get Haren through some trouble.
After the second of those double plays, Haren went on to retire 13 in a row and never had a problem again. Trout took care of anything in the air, running down fly balls to the center-field warning track and the gaps.
His baserunning also seemed to throw the usually stellar Seattle infield completely off its game. With the Mariners looking like they might get back in it against a shaky Haren, reducing their deficit to 3-1 after the first, the speedy Trout forced third baseman Kyle Seager to rush his throw to first base on a grounder.
Trout was safe on the error, then made it to second ahead of an attempted Brendan Ryan shovel toss to that bag on Hunter's infield single. Albert Pujols then reached on another infield single on which Ryan tried for the force at second.
But that attempted shovel flip fell out of Ryan's glove and Trout — never slowing from second — easily rounded third and made it home for a 4-1 lead.
"He makes you conscious of him," Ryan said. "So, he's got a presence. He's got a presence at the plate, on the bases and in center field. He just changes things in three ways. Defensively, you've got to cheat in a bit. You've got to make the routine plays routinely."
But nothing went routinely for the Mariners in this game.
Michael Saunders was pulled in the fourth inning after tweaking his groin a bit chasing down a Hunter fly ball. The Mariners pulled him as a precaution and have listed him as day-to-day.
As for Millwood, he'll have to regroup and find a way to get back to keeping his team in games. He's done that most of the season, even when he struggles early.
"This is the first time I've felt this was as much of a struggle as it was," he said. "They've got a very good team and I don't want to take anything away from them. But there really wasn't anything I was trying to do that I was able to do."
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @gbakermariners