Jered Weaver lost his cool, and the Angels lost another game, something neither could afford to do Wednesday night with the sand in the September hourglass running out and the Angels’ playoff hopes dwindling.
Weaver was ejected for throwing at Kyle Seager after a brief but fiery exchange between the two in the fifth inning of the Seattle Mariners’ 3-1 victory over the Angels in Safeco Field.
The loss dropped the Angels five games behind Texas in the American League West and kept them 3 1/2 games behind Houston for the second wild-card spot with 17 games left.
With two outs in the fifth and the Mariners ahead, 3-0, Seager raised his arm to call timeout before a 1-and-0 pitch, a lengthy request that Weaver took exception to. Seager responded by yelling an expletive at Weaver, whose next pitch, an 83-mph fastball, hit Seager in the right arm.
Home plate umpire Brian Nora saw intention and tossed Weaver immediately, the second ejection of Weaver’s career
“It looks a lot worse than it is,” Weaver said. “It happened to hit him. He’s been taking some good swings off me. I was trying to get a fastball in there, and it hit him. It was only 82 mph, so I think he’ll be all right. I don’t think it’s going to keep him out of the lineup.”
Seager said Weaver fired the first salvo in the dispute.
“He definitely started the conversation,” Seager said. “It definitely escalated, and he handled it the way he wanted to. From my perspective, he quit on his team, and I didn’t quit on mine.
“I was surprised he hit me, because if you hit me there, it’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen. He’s going to be out of the game. I guess he was tired of pitching.”
Weaver said he was bothered by the fact that Seager never stepped out of the box to call time and that he had started his delivery while Seager was still asking for time.
“I was on the rubber, ready to go, and he’s standing in the box,” Weaver said. “Just because he has his hand up doesn’t mean anything.”
Said Seager: “I was calling timeout, and it takes me a little while to get in the box. He started to pitch, and I kept my hand up, and I guess he didn’t particularly care for it.”
The ejection didn’t cost the Angels the game. The fact they went hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position and failed to capitalize on several opportunities did.
They failed to score after leadoff doubles in the third and fifth innings and again in the eighth after Carlos Perez and David Murphy singled to put runners on first and third with one out. Seattle reliever Carson Smith struck out Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout, the latter on a down-and-away slider, to end the inning.
Seattle scored in the fourth when Nelson Cruz dunked a soft single to left, Seth Smith hit a full-swing dribbler down the third-base line for a one-out single and Jesus Montero sent a laser screaming over the left-center field wall for a three-run homer, the Mariners first baseman’s fifth homer in 12 career at-bats against Weaver.
That was enough support for Seattle right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who used a tailing, sinking two-seam fastball and a dirt-diving split-fingered fastball to limit the Angels to one run and four hits in six innings, striking out nine and walking none.
The Angels scored on Murphy’s solo homer in the sixth.
Albert Pujols, slowed by a sore right foot, was hitless in four at-bats and is batting .150 (six for 40) with three runs batted in in his last 12 games.
“There’s no doubt his base and strength isn’t quite the same because of his foot,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “It affects other parts of his body and his swing, and it’s tough for him to leverage right now. But he’s a gamer, and he’s going to go out there and do everything he can to put the ball in play.”
Left-hander Hector Santiago (8-9, 3.21 ERA) will oppose Minnesota left-hander Tommy Milone (8-5, 3.73) at Target Field on Thursday at 5 p.m. PDT. TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 1330.
Follow Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna