ANAHEIM, Calif. — After being so good for so much of the Seattle Mariners’ recent push into postseason contention and the strong start to August, the Seattle bullpen was inevitably going to experience some level of regression. The cadre of relievers simply couldn’t keep putting up zero after zero. But it all came at once on Tuesday night at Angels Stadium.
Relievers Nick Vincent and Arquimedes Caminero each surrendered leads and the Mariners blew a winnable game in a 7-6 loss to the Angels, who snapped an 11-game losing streak.
Caminero, who had yet to allow a run since being acquired by the Mariners (63-55), was brought in for the eighth inning to protect a 6-5 lead.
Instead, he gave it up with two outs, having already retired Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Jefry Marte pulled a 97 mph fastball over the short wall in left field for a solo homer to tie the score at 6-6. Caminero gave up a single to Jett Bandy and then a triple to Cliff Pennington on a line drive that rattled around in the right-field corner. Nelson Cruz struggled to corral the ball and Bandy scored from first with the go-ahead run.
It seemed like the Mariners’ run of good play/luck and the Angels’ recent stretch of misery would continue.
J.C. Ramirez, a reliever for the Mariners in 2015 for about a month, helped the Angels have an inning befitting a team that had lost 11 straight games coming into the night.
Robinson Cano’s routine grounder to second base to start the inning was misplayed by Pennington for an error. Ramirez then walked Cruz. While facing Kyle Seager, Ramirez uncorked a wild pitch to move the runners up a base and unleashed another one to allow Cano to sprint home with the tying run at 5-5.
Seager then launched a ball into center allowing Cruz to tag up and score from third for the go-ahead run and a 6-5 lead.
The Mariners had scored two runs without a hit.
The Mariners were just coming off an inning where their bullpen finally suffered its first blemish after a run of dominance, turning a 4-1 lead into a 5-4 deficit.
After starter Ariel Miranda walked Kole Calhoun and Trout to start the sixth inning, manager Scott Servais called on right-hander Vincent to face Pujols and the slew of right-handed hitters that may follow.
Vincent came into the game with right-handers batting .191 (18 for 94) against him with a .587 on-base slugging percentage. But he also had allowed four homers to right-handers. That number went up a couple. Vincent left a 1-2 fastball over the middle that Pujols cranked over the wall in left-center to tie the score at 4-4. It was the 582nd homer of his career.
Two batters later, Bandy yanked a high fly ball down the left-field line that bonked off the foul pole for a solo homer.
Miranda found himself in some trouble early, walking Yunel Escobar and serving up a double to Calhoun. He gave up a run on Trout’s sacrifice fly to center, but avoided major disaster. He retired Pujols and Marte without allowing another run.
From there, Miranda settled in, working the next four innings scoreless, navigating though a handful of base runners. His teammates gave him ample run support. They erased the 1-0 deficit, answering with three runs in the top of the second off Angels starter Jhoulys Chacin with two outs. Ketel Marte dropped a perfect bunt to score Mike Zunino from third and Seth Smith added a two-run single to give Seattle a 3-1 lead. The Mariners made it 4-1 in the fifth on an RBI single from Seager.