The ball blooped into short center field late in the night, carrying with it the remains of a six-game losing streak. With one flick of C.J. Cron's bat, the Angels avoided their longest losing streak in six years.
It fell to the grass at Safeco Field, and the Angels had their win.
"I didn't get much of it," Cron said. "But I got enough."
They came from four runs behind to beat Seattle, 7-6, on Friday, one night after they came from five runs behind to put the winning run on base but failed to complete the comeback against St. Louis.
Early on, the game granted clues the outcome would be close. In the first inning, with Kole Calhoun on base, Albert Pujols received the pitch he wanted in the location he hoped it would be. But he did not lower his bat as he intended, and lofted the ball five feet short of the warning track. He pounded his fists together as he jogged back to the Angels' dugout, knowing he'd missed an opportunity.
Calhoun was caught stealing two pitches into Daniel Nava's subsequent at-bat, and the Angels did not muster another baserunner off Mariners starter Nate Karns until the fourth inning, when Mike Trout walked with one out. He stole second base and then scored when Nava ripped a two-out single up the middle.
Angels right-hander Nick Tropeano began the game with a clean first inning. In the second, Tropeano yielded a double to Kyle Seager and drilled Seth Smith in the buttocks. In a 2-2 count against ex-Angel Chris Iannetta, Tropeano delivered a slider that broke behind Iannetta's head. He walked him with his next pitch to load the bases, and then stretched the count to 3-2 on Leonys Martin.
On Tropeano's fifth straight fastball, Martin weakly grounded out to end the inning.
He escaped more trouble in the third and teetered the line in the fourth, when Smith walked, Adam Lind lined a single down the left-field line, and Iannetta walked on a questionable call. Martin drove a ball deep to right-center, and Trout and Calhoun converged on it — both men calling for it, neither man hearing the other. Calhoun's glove scraped Trout's face, but Trout's glove captured the ball.
A run scored on the sacrifice fly. With his 88th pitch, Tropeano then struck out Norichika Aoki to end the inning. He gave up a solo home run to Nelson Cruz and a double to Seager, but struck out Smith with his career-high 104th pitch to end the inning and his night.
Left-hander Jose Alvarez loaded the bases on two ground-ball singles and a walk in the sixth, and Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte sliced a ball to right. Calhoun dived for it and missed by two inches, allowing Marte to take third and all three baserunners to score.
Geovany Soto and Johnny Giavotella began the Angels' half of the seventh with singles. Third baseman Jefry Marte struck out swinging, but infielderGregorio Petit pinch-hit for Brendan Ryan and ripped a single to left.
That brought out Mariners Manager Scott Servais to remove Karns in favor of left-hander Vidal Nuno. He threw one pitch, a slider that Calhoun drove to right for a sacrifice fly.
Out came Servais, and in came Nick Vincent, who got Trout to pop up a ball to short right field. Smith chased it down but not quickly enough, and another Angels run scored as Trout galloped to second. Pujols then struck out on three pitches.
Next, the teams traded solo shots, as Iannetta launched one to left off Angels rookie Greg Mahle, and Cron boomed one to right off Mariners veteran Joel Peralta.
The Angels added their final run on back-to-back doubles from Giavotella and Marte. Presented with the opportunity to single in the tying run in the eighth, Petit tapped out to first.
But, in the ninth, Calhoun singled, Pujols singled, and Nava walked, loading the bases for Cron, who popped up a first-pitch fastball in between three Mariner defenders.
Two runs scored. The streak was over.