Angels let down by their bullpen

Times Staff Writer

The Angels were dejected, ejected and somehow resurrected, all in the span of one wild ninth inning Wednesday night, but they eventually succumbed to the Seattle Mariners in the 12th inning, suffering one of their more devastating losses of the season.

One out away from escaping a first-and-third, one-out jam, Justin Speier gave up a three-run home run to rookie designated hitter Wladimir Balentien, which lifted Seattle to a 10-7 victory at Angel Stadium and ended the Angels’ five-game win streak.

Even uglier for the Angels was the top of the ninth, when closer Francisco Rodriguez suffered a rare meltdown, getting rocked for three runs and three hits and drawing his first career ejection after a controversial exchange with umpire Gerry Davis.

Rodriguez, still fuming over a ball-four call to Miguel Cairo to open the inning, asked Davis after he was pulled from the game where the pitch to Cairo was, “and he said, don’t worry about it, you just gave up six hits,” Rodriguez said. “That’s when I exploded.”


Davis denied Rodriguez’s claims.

“I didn’t say that,” the umpire said. “I just told him, ‘That’s enough. Knock it off.’ That was after he yelled at me and gestured as he walked off the mound.”

Angels slugger Mark Teixeira erased the sour taste from the top of the ninth by crushing a home run to center field off Seattle closer J.J. Putz to lead off the bottom of the ninth, his second homer of the game, to tie the score, 7-7.

Reliever Darren Oliver gave the Angels a chance to win when he replaced Rodriguez in the ninth and retired all eight batters he faced.


But Speier gave up a double to Raul Ibanez, who had four hits, including a home run and two doubles, to lead off the 12th, and Ibanez took third on Adrian Beltre’s grounder to second.

Pinch-hitter Tug Hulett flied to shallow left, Ibanez holding at third, but Balentien drove his sixth homer of the season to center field for the winner.

Seattle reliever Roy Corcoran gave up one hit over three scoreless innings to improve to 3-0.

“It’s a loss, it’s no different than any other, we have to turn the page,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “This was a heavy page to turn tonight. Nine times out of 10, we win this game. . . .


“We came back, which is good, but uncharacteristically, we didn’t hold the lead.”

The Angels broke a 4-4 tie with two runs in the eighth, as Garret Anderson walked, Howie Kendrick doubled, and Juan Rivera and Jeff Mathis hit sacrifice flies for a 6-4 lead.

But Rodriguez collapsed in the ninth, walking Cairo and giving up Yuniesky Betancourt’s single to left. Shortstop Maicer Izturis aggravated a sprained left thumb, an injury he suffered on Aug. 1, diving for the ball and left the game. It appears likely he will be put on the disabled list.

Vladimir Guerrero made a nice catch of Ichiro Suzuki’s sinking liner for the first out, but both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Jeremy Reed hit a two-run double to right-center, and Ibanez lined an RBI single to center for a 7-6 lead.


Rodriguez, who was looking to tie his franchise record of 47 saves, suffered his fifth blown save of the season, and his string of 20 consecutive saves converted against Seattle was ended.

The ball-four call on Cairo “bothered me a little bit, but after that, I have to get guys out, and I didn’t,” Rodriguez said. “It was an embarrassing outing for me. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t get the call. I still have to make quality pitches and get the job done.”

Teixeira, who singled ahead of Guerrero’s RBI single in the first, hit his first homer in the third, a two-run, opposite-field shot to left-center off starter Felix Hernandez to give the Angels a 3-1 lead.

The Mariners tied it, 3-3, with runs in the sixth (Ibanez homer) and seventh (Suzuki RBI groundout) innings, but Izturis’ RBI double in the bottom of the seventh pushed the Angels ahead, 4-3.


Back came the Mariners off reliever Scot Shields in the eighth, as Ibanez led off with a double and scored on Jeff Clement’s two-out, RBI single to right for a 4-4 tie.