ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) It’s been obvious for quite some time that the Los Angeles Angels weren’t going to the playoffs. Now it’s official.
The Angels beat Seattle 6-5 Saturday night for their 21st victory in 28 games, but this surge came way too late. Earlier in the day, they were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
After starting the year with big expectations, boosted by the winter signing of former MVP Josh Hamilton, the injury-plagued Angels didn’t spend one day atop the AL West after winning their season opener at Cincinnati.
The Angels have been no fewer than nine games out of first place since the All-Star break. This is their fourth straight year without a postseason berth, after winning five division titles.
“I think the one word that still lingers out of all this clubhouse and how we all feel is certainly `frustration,'” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I don’t think there’s been any way to sugarcoat it. It’s obviously not a good feeling when you don’t accomplish your goal.
“There’s been some nonperformance on our club, some injuries and some depth issues. But I think we’ve gone a long way in the past month to show the kind of baseball we can play, particularly on the pitching side. Hopefully we’ll temper that frustration and finish strong,” he said.
Collin Cowgill homered and also stole home for the Angels. Rookie Grant Green hit a three-run double to help Jerome Williams win his fourth straight start.
Cowgill walked and scored in the second inning and hit a solo homer in the fourth. He tripled to open the seventh, then broke for the plate as Andrew Romine squared around to try a suicide-squeeze bunt, and scored when left-hander Joe Saunders’ pitch sailed to the backstop.
Williams (9-10) allowed one run, five hits and five walks in 5 2-3 innings. He left after No. 9 hitter Henry Blanco snapped an 0-for-32 drought with a bloop single.
“I always want to go out there and do my best,” he said. “I’ve had a couple of rough stretches, and now I just want to finish strong and end this season on a good note.”
Ernesto Frieri got three outs for his 36th save in 40 attempts despite giving up Raul Ibanez’s 300th career homer.
Ibanez and Ted Williams are the only players to hit 29 home runs during the season in which they were 41 years old.
“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be in this situation,” Ibanez said. “Anytime you’re in the company of the great Ted Williams – and it’s just this one thing that I have in common with him – it’s a great blessing. I read his book when I was in high school, and he was the greatest hitter that ever lived.”
What made this milestone even sweeter for Ibanez was that it came with the Mariners, the team he began his big league career with in 1996. This is his third stint with the club.
“I’ve always considered myself a Mariner,” said the 17-year veteran, who hit a career-high 34 homers in 2009 with Philadelphia. “This is the organization that first game me the opportunity. So to do this in a Mariners uniform, I feel very fortunate.”
Saunders (11-16) tied the Astros’ Lucas Harrell and the Cubs’ Edwin Jackson for the most losses in the majors. Saunders gave up six runs and six hits over seven innings and tied a career best with nine strikeouts. The 32-year-old left-hander threw 125 pitches, one short of his career high.
Abraham Almonte scored Seattle’s second run on a seventh-inning balk by rookie Cory Rasmus.
NOTES: Last year, the Angels’ postseason hopes ended with two games left on the schedule. … LHP C.J. Wilson, who goes into Sunday’s start with a 17-6 record and a string of nine straight winning decisions, was presented with the fifth annual Nick Adenhart memorial award as the Angels’ top pitcher of the season during a pregame ceremony. Jered Weaver won it the first four years. … Justin Smoak was hitless in three at-bats against Williams, and is 1 for 19 lifetime against him with seven strikeouts. … The Mariners are 0-68 this season when trailing after eight innings, and 6-221 during Eric Wedge’s three years as manager.