Felix Hernandez pitched like an All-Star on Sunday, but the suddenly soaring Angels rallied against the Mariners' bullpen once again for a 4-2 victory capped by Alberto Callaspo's two-run double in the eighth off relieverDavid Pauley.

The loss finished off a tough California road trip for Seattle, which hits the All-Star break on a five-game losing streak after getting swept by the Angels while being outscored 22-9 over four days.

Hernandez did his part for all but one pitch on Sunday, winding up with a no-decision after scattering six hits over seven innings and turning a 2-2 tie over to Pauley. Hernandez finished the first half at 8-7 with a 3.19 ERA.

"Sweeping a Major League ballclub, that's tough," said Angels right fielder Torii Hunter, "and we had Felix Hernandez, so we knew we had a battle on our hands."

They won the battle after Hernandez was pulled at 110 pitches. Pauley, one of the top relievers in the American League over the first three months, has now lost two straight, as he also gave up a walk-off home run to Mark Trumbo in a 4-3 loss to the Angels on Friday.

The Mariners chose to intentionally walk Howard Kendrick after Pauley fell behind him 2-0 with two outs and a runner on second in the eighth inning. That brought up Callaspo, who ripped a 2-1 sinker for a double to bring home both runners and cap off a 3-for-4 day that raised his average to .281.

"I hesitated a little, because Callaspo had a couple knocks already," manager Eric Wedge said. "But he's also 1-for-9 or 10 against Pauley. Getting behind Kendrick right there, I didn't want him to have to come in to him."

So the Mariners tried to pick their poison and paid the price anyway, which isn't a new trend when facing an Angels team that has now won 16 of its last 18 home games against Seattle.

The Mariners managed just five hits and a pair of first-inning runs off Angels starter Dan Haren (10-5, 2.61).

"They're playing pretty good baseball right now," said Hernandez. "And Haren is a pretty good pitcher. I knew it was going to be tough."

By throwing Sunday, Hernandez became ineligible for Tuesday's All-Star Game, though he will be part of the festivities in Phoenix along with teammates Brandon League and newly-added Michael Pineda.

Of Hernandez's 110 pitches, the only one he wanted back was a sinker to Trumbo that was belted for a two-run home run in the fourth that tied the game.

"I'm just disappointed, because that homer was a mistake I made and they made me pay," said Hernandez. "When we scored two in the first, I said, 'Now I need to put zeros on the scoreboard.' But I put that sinker right there and he hit it out of the ballpark."

Trumbo continued terrorizing the Mariners with his third home run in three days. The big rookie now has 17 home runs on the season, having hit the game-ending blast in the ninth inning Friday off Pauley and a solo shot in the eighth on Saturday against Chris Ray.

"He's got big-time power," Hernandez said. "I was trying to sink it to get a double play, but I left it right in the middle of the plate ... and, boom."

The Angels (50-42) have won eight of their last nine games to stay on the heels of AL West-leading Texas, while Seattle hits the break at 43-48.

A year ago, the Mariners were 35-53 and 15 games back at this point, so they've taken a big step forward. But five straight losses heading into the intermission wasn't exactly where Wedge wanted his club to be, so Sunday was a big game for Seattle.

 

Haren hadn't allowed a run in his previous two starts, with just four hits in 16 1/3 innings. But the Mariners got to him for a pair of runs in the first when Brendan Ryan singled, Dustin Ackley walked and both wound up scoring when Adam Kennedy poked a 1-2 pitch into left field for a two-run single.

Third baseman Kyle Seager, one of three rookies starting Sunday for Seattle, got his first Major League hit with a single up the middle in the second inning to end his 0-for-10 start. Angels rookie center fielder Mike Trout misplayed the ball, which rolled to the wall as Seager steamed into third on the two-base error.

"It's exciting to just get that first hit under your belt, relax a little bit and just go out and play," said Seager, who finished the day 1-for-2 with a walk. "Hopefully this will get me rolling a little bit, and we'll have some more to follow."

 

Courtsey of seattlemariners.com