All season, the Angels have hung around wild-card contention because they have hung around games, never falling so far behind as to render a revival an impossibility. Accordingly, they lead the major leagues in comeback victories.
Ten runs is too much, they learned Friday at Angel Stadium. Seattle shut them out, 10-0, in the Angels’ most thorough defeat of 2017, of which not even one positive could be extracted.
“Oh, we’re turning the page on this one,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia began his postgame news conference. “It was a rough night all the way around.”
Before this laugher, the Angels had not trailed by double-digit runs all season. Their year’s worst defeat had contained an eight-run margin, to this same Seattle club in May. Left-hander Ariel Miranda started that game and pitched seven strong innings, surrendering only two runs.
Miranda started Friday night, too, and restricted the Angels to one single, one double, and two walks over seven stronger innings. The 28-year-old Cuban is no ace. He entered the game with a career 4.02 earned-run average, and this season he has pitched to a 4.24 ERA against teams not named after spiritual beings. But against these Angels, he has dominated.
To oppose him, the Angels sent right-hander Parker Bridwell to the mound for his fourth career start. His first three produced better results than most anyone expected. The trend did not continue. The control issues he pitched through two starts ago in New York did not plague him. Instead, he suffered the opposite problem: His pitches caught too much of the plate.
In the first four innings, Bridwell benefited from two lucky lineouts that went as double plays, and an elite catch from left fielder Eric Young Jr., who tracked Robinson Cano’s drive into the left-field fence to end the third.
In the fifth, Cano struck to a degree no Angel defender could prevent. He slammed a first-pitch fastball into the first row of the right-field seats for a three-run home run after three Mariner hits.
Bridwell had been pounded for nine hits and five runs in five innings, and still he stayed in the game. He finished the sixth on three batters, again aided by a double play.
“I have to locate better,” Bridwell said. “I’ve gotta be better in five days, and I will be.”
He may have been hurt. Before Cano clubbed an 0-and-2 breaking ball for a two-run shot, a Ben Gamel single struck Petit’s right shin. A trainer tested it for sensitivity, but he remained in the game for two more batters, and Scioscia said he would be fine.
Rookie right-hander Brooks Pounders pitched the rest of the game. At that point, his rate of success was irrelevant. The Angels needed innings, and he provided them, then readied to head back to triple-A Salt Lake.
The Angels (42-42) came closest to scoring in the ninth inning, against long-limbed 23-year-old right-hander Max Povse, who was pitching in the second big league game of his life. Albert Pujols walked and Ben Revere singled. With two runners in scoring position, Jefry Marte pounded a ball bound for left field, but Seattle’s Taylor Motter slid for it and jump-threw in time for the out.
The Angels did reap one advantage from the advanced lead, as Scioscia rested his regulars in the late innings. He has rarely been able to do so this season because of the continuous tight finishes. Kole Calhoun, Yunel Escobar and Andrelton Simmons all exited early, and Simmons earlier appeared pained when he slid awkwardly onto his left knee while fielding a groundout.