SEATTLE – Jason Vargas went seven innings and denied Jered Weaver another chance at becoming the first pitcher in the majors to reach seven wins, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels, 3-0, on Wednesday night.
The first of 19 meetings this season between the American League West rivals went the Mariners’ way, thanks to another gem from Vargas, who ran his streak of scoreless innings to 16. Vargas (3-2) allowed four singles in seven innings.
Jack Cust had two RBI singles as his rebound from a miserable April continued and Justin Smoak added an RBI double.
Weaver (6-4) dropped his fourth straight decision and remained tied for the league lead in victories. The Angels have lost six of seven.
The Angels threatened in the eighth after Vargas left. Jamey Wright allowed two walks and Alberto Callaspo’s infield single to load the bases with two outs. He fell behind pinch-hitter Hank Conger 2-0, then got him looking at a 3-2 pitch on the inside corner.
Brandon League pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 13 chances and his first since blowing three games last week.
Weaver wasn’t battered by Seattle’s bats. But he couldn’t match the zeros that his former Long Beach State teammate continues to post. Vargas won his third straight decision that followed a streak of nine straight losses dating to last season. He’s gotten better in each of his past four starts.
GUTIERREZ BATS NO. 5
After a week of talking about closer Brandon League, Mariners manager Eric Wedge got back to familiar questions Wednesday – about his offense, or lack thereof.
The inquiries were timely enough, what with Felix Hernandez losing to the Minnesota Twins, 2-1, on Tuesday.
And Wedge made a lineup change. With Franklin Gutierrez available again and in center field, Wedge dropped him into the fifth spot in the batting order. It’s not the ideal spot for him, Wedge said, but he was looking for a spark.
“We need something. I’m sure as hell not going to continue watching this,” Wedge said of his offense. “We’re going to get better and we’re going to do everything we possibly can to get better.
“Certain things have to happen. We have to be tougher. We have to be smarter. Work’s never been an issue with these guys.”
Hits and runs, those are the issues.
Aside from getting Gutierrez back from his rehab assignment with Tacoma, Wedge sat down his starting shortstop and second baseman – Brendan Ryan and Jack Wilson – in favor of Luis Rodriguez and Adam Kennedy.
It was Wedge’s 37th different lineup in the Mariners’ 42nd game. It featured six players hitting under .225.
Seattle plays host to Los Angeles in a 12:40 p.m. game today that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Dan Haren (4-2, 1.93 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (2-4, 3.22).