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Angels draw a blank in Seattle

Times Staff Writer

Back to the daily grinding it out.

After pulverizing Detroit for 34 runs in three games, the Angels had to figure the pickings might be slimmer against the team whose footsteps they could hear loudest in the American League West.

Seattle’s Miguel Batista made runs as scarce as a bad cup of coffee in the Pacific Northwest, holding the Angels scoreless for seven innings Monday night during the Mariners’ 2-0 victory at Safeco Field.

The Angels could scratch out only four hits -- all singles -- against Batista and two relievers while looking as feeble as they had mighty over the weekend. Batista struck out two, walked none and allowed only two runners to reach second base in helping the Mariners end the Angels’ four-game winning streak and close to within three games in the division.

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It was the first time Batista (11-7) did not give up a run in 21 starts this season.

“He changed speeds just enough, threw strikes and let his defense play,” Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman said.

Seattle’s relievers were equally stingy. The Angels could manage only an eighth-inning walk against Brandon Morrow and were retired in order by J.J. Putz, who recorded his 31st save.

Angels right-hander Kelvim Escobar (11-5) was nearly as effective as his counterpart, pitching eight strong innings in which he gave up eight hits and two runs.

“You couldn’t pitch much better than Kelvim did,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Unfortunately, Batista matched him pitch for pitch and a little better.”

Ichiro Suzuki had three hits and was in the middle of both Mariners rallies. He tripled to right-center field with one out in the third inning and scored on Jose Vidro’s single that whizzed past Escobar’s head. His two-out, bad-hop single over Kotchman’s shoulder in the seventh drove in Kenji Johjima with an insurance run.

“An awkward bounce, to say the least,” Kotchman said.

The Angels’ offense did not even seem remotely related to the one that had produced double digits in scoring for three consecutive games against Detroit. The Angels had multiple baserunners in only one inning and were retired in order five times.

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“You can’t really worry about the offense, if we’re scoring or not scoring,” Escobar said. “You have to take what they give you and do the job.”

Angels hitters apparently weren’t in a giving mood. Their only legitimate threat came in the third, when Jeff Mathis led off with an infield single and went to second on Reggie Willits’ single past second baseman Jose Lopez. But Chone Figgins struck out, Orlando Cabrera flied out to center field and Vladimir Guerrero hit a sinking liner that left fielder Raul Ibanez caught just inches above the grass.

“If it falls, we’ve got a chance to score two runs right there,” Willits said.

Guerrero went one for four with a single, extending his career-long homer-less drought to 28 games and 113 at-bats.

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The only other time the Angels put a runner in scoring position was in the fifth inning, when Willits singled to right-center field with two out and stole second base before Figgins struck out.

“It happens quick,” Kotchman said of the offense’s reversal of fortune. “We were scoring a bunch of runs and then we didn’t score any.”

ben.bolch@latimes.com


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