Cruz, Hernandez help Mariners hand Angels 11th straight loss
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Once he got rolling, Felix Hernandez had little trouble with the reeling Los Angeles Angels - except Mike Trout.
Nelson Cruz hit his 30th home run to lead Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners past Los Angeles 3-2 on Monday night as the Angels matched a franchise record with their 11th consecutive defeat.
Hernandez (7-4) struck out eight and pitched into the seventh inning to earn his 150th win and help the Mariners remain two games behind Boston for the second AL wild card.
King Felix has 328 career strikeouts against Los Angeles, surpassing Roger Clemens for the most of any pitcher vs. the Angels.
''Felix was really great tonight again,'' Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ''Started to get some rhythm going tonight again, good changeup tonight, some strikeouts, a few extra walks, but he hung in there and gave us a great effort.''
Hernandez gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings. Feeling as though he had little command after giving up early walks and a run in the second inning, Hernandez found his grove. He struck out six straight before yielding a home run to Trout.
Trout's seven home runs off Hernandez are the most by any player in baseball.
''I was trying to strike out Trout, too, but I left that pitch up,'' Hernandez said. ''He's my nightmare. He's got my number.''
The Angels had lost 11 straight on three other occasions, but never under manager Mike Scioscia. Last in the AL West, Los Angeles (49-69) is a season-high 20 games under .500.
The last time the team dropped 11 in a row was during the 1999 season.
''I don't know if we're looking for a spark or if we're looking to grind it out, play our own offense and create or own breaks,'' Scioscia said. ''Right now, we're just not getting enough done, but we will turn this around and we will play better.''
Cruz drove Ricky Nolasco's 2-2 curveball into the left-field stands in the fifth to become the sixth player in Mariners history with multiple 30-homer seasons. It's the fourth consecutive season Cruz has hit 30 or more.
''He threw me the first pitch similar, it was a curveball high and I thought it was a ball and was like, `Wow a strike?''' Cruz said. ''Then later, he threw me another big, looping curveball.''
Trout also stole his 20th base, marking the third time he's reached 20 home runs and 20 steals in a season. He became the seventh player in major league history with three 20-20 seasons and is the only one still active, now that Alex Rodriguez was released by the Yankees.
Trout belted his 23rd homer in the fifth, making the score 3-2.
Nolasco (4-10) issued walks to Cruz and Kyle Seager in the fourth before Adam Lind singled home Cruz, and Mike Zunino singled in Seager. Cruz's fifth-inning homer put Seattle up 3-1.
With one on and two outs and the Mariners hanging onto a 3-2 lead in the seventh, Seager hit a deep liner to right field, but Kole Calhoun went over the fence and into the stands to make the catch and end the inning.
Edwin Diaz earned the save with a perfect ninth inning. He's converted all seven save opportunities since moving into the closer role on Aug. 2.
The Angels scored in the first when Nick Buss hit an opposite-field double to drive in Cliff Pennington with two outs.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton is still dealing with lingering effects from taking a line drive off his forearm in his last outing. The bruised forearm will force Paxton to skip his turn in the rotation Tuesday and might land him on the 15-day disabled list.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards was cleared to play catch for the first time since tearing his ulnar collateral ligament on May 6. Richards threw 25 pitches from 45 feet and will continue with the regimen until the end of the season.
Mariners: LHP Ariel Miranda (1-0, 6.00 ERA) will start in place of Paxton on Tuesday. Miranda, acquired from Baltimore for Wade Miley at the trade deadline, will make his fifth major league start and third for the Mariners.
Angels: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (2-6, 6.00) will make his second start since returning to the rotation after a stint in the bullpen. Chacin took the spot held by Tim Lincecum after he was designated for assignment.