Kole Calhoun hit the go-ahead home run off Nick Vincent in the seventh and Los Angeles prevented Seattle from a four-game sweep.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — With Mike Scioscia inching closer to a retirement that is expected to be officially announced after the season, handing him a four-game sweep in their final meeting would have been a perfect parting gift for manager Scott Servais and the Mariners.
Instead, they’ll have to settle for winning this last series of the season with the Angels and the overall season series.
The offense that carried the Mariners for the first three games of the series was held in check and the relief pitching that had been stellar for the first three the games gave up the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, leading to a 4-3 defeat for Seattle on sun-drenched Sunday at Angels Stadium.
“Offensively, we’ve swung the bat better, but we didn’t do a ton today like the first three games of the series,” Servais said. “You win the series, but you want to win every ballgame and you are disappointed when you have a chance to sweep them and you don’t finish it off.”
A fixture in the American League West since 2000 and the longest tenured manager in MLB, Scioscia isn’t exactly a favorite among Mariners fans. His relationship with Servais and Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto could categorized as frosty with a touch of mutual dislike. It stems from their time together in Anaheim. A fractured relationship between the manager and the general manager led to Dipoto’s resignation with Servais, who was Dipoto’s assistant general manager, following his close friend to Seattle a year later.
The Mariners won the overall season series 11-8 against the Angels, a team expected to compete for a postseason spot. But Scioscia has had the upper hand against the Mariners for his career. The Angels are 191-164 vs. Seattle with Scioscia at the helm. Against the Mariners under the direction of Dipoto and Servais, Scioscia has compiled a 28-29 record.
Even with the offense generating minimal opportunities and starter Marco Gonzales not having his best command of his secondary pitches, the Mariners still were in a position to win it late against the Angels’ bullpen. Instead, it was their own bullpen that gave it up in a 3-3 game.
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With two outs in the seventh, Nick Vincent left a 3-2 cutter over the outer half of the plate to Kole Calhoun and his Popeye-sized forearms. Calhoun redirected the pitch over the wall in deep left-center for the go-ahead run.
“We were right there in the ballgame and Vincent has been throwing the ball great,” Servais said. “But he made a mistake late in the count. And the guy took him out the other way for a homer.”
Facing the Angels for the sixth time this season — the Mariners had won his previous five starts against the Angels — Gonzales worked five innings, allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He had runners on base in four of the five innings he pitched.
“I was not as sharp as I’d like to be, but I tried to compete and keep us in the ballgame,” he said.
All that traffic came back to get him in the third inning when he left a 2-1 changeup over the outside part of the plate to Justin Upton, who has been on a tear this series. Upton smashed a three-run homer to right-center to give the Angels a 3-1 lead.
“Wrong pitch and I picked the wrong count to do it,” Gonzales said. “We did a lot of work inside on him and he just connected on a changeup that he got extended on. Hindsight, you want to throw a different pitch there. It was located for a strike. We were trying to extend off the plate to miss a barrel, but just the wrong pitch.”
But the Mariners answered immediately in the top of the fourth against Angels starter Jaime Barria. Kyle Seager singled with one out and Daniel Vogelbach, making his first start since being called up, whacked a two-run homer to deep right field.
“Vogey hasn’t played that much,” Servais said. “He was coming off a hamstring injury when he got to us. But this was a chance to get him a start today and he put a really good swing on that ball. He’s got that kind of power. It was certainly a big hit in the ballgame.”
Vogelbach got the start because Nelson Cruz was scratched about an hour and a half before the game due to illness. He’s dealing with the same virus that’s affected multiple players including Jean Segura and Cameron Maybin.
“I’m just trying to go in there and be aggressive,” Vogelbach said. “I haven’t gotten a lot of at-bats, so I didn’t want to make it complicated today. Just go see fastballs and hit them.”
James Paxton (pneumonia) threw long toss on Sunday at Safeco Field. He was scheduled to board a flight later Sunday and join the Mariners on Monday in Houston. However, he likely will need a bullpen session before being reinserted into the starting rotation.