Mariners rally for three runs in ninth inning to beat Angels, 3-1

Brennan Boesch
Angels right fielder Brennan Boesch makes a diving catch on a ball hit by Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano ini the fourth inning Thursday night in Anaheim.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

KEY MOMENT: With two outs and no score in the top of the ninth, Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen appeared to have pinch-runner James Jones picked off first, but he bounced his throw past the bag for an error, allowing Jones to take second. Kyle Seager was intentionally walked, and Logan Morrison hit a three-run home run to right, only the third homer Jepsen has yielded this season. Seattle moved to within one game of Oakland for the second wild-card spot.

AT THE PLATE: One night after clinching the American League West title, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia gave his regulars a much-needed game off. Predictably, the reserves did not fare well against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who gave up three hits in seven shutout innings, striking out 11 and allowing one runner to reach second base. Hank Conger hit a solo homer off closer Fernando Rodney in the ninth before the Mariners right-hander recorded his league-leading 46th save.

ON THE MOUND: Spot-starter Wade LeBlanc gave the Angels more than they expected, blanking Seattle on three hits in 51/3 innings, striking out three and walking none. Of his 72 pitches, 48 were strikes. Hernandez lowered his AL-best ERA to 2.07 and increased his strikeout total to 236, a career high.

IN THE FIELD: Right fielder Brennan Boesch raced in and made a superb diving catch of Robinson Cano’s fourth-inning flare. Second baseman Grant Green charged Morrison’s fifth-inning slow roller and made a bare-hand grab and off-balance one-hop throw to first for the out.

ROTATION SHUFFLE: Jered Weaver was scratched from Thursday’s start to give the ace extra rest before his final two regular-season starts and line him up for Game 1 of the division series Oct. 2. Weaver will pitch Saturday against Texas and Sept. 26 in Seattle, giving him six days off before his next start and five days off before the following one. Scioscia said LeBlanc would start Tuesday in Oakland.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Angels clinched home-field advantage for the division series and have a 2 1/2-game lead over Baltimore for the AL’s best record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

UP NEXT: Left-hander Hector Santiago (5-8, 3.55 ERA) will oppose Texas right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla (major league debut) at Angel Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 710, 830, 1330.