- Mark Saxon, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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The Angels blew a crucial chance to make up ground on the Texas Rangers when the last-place Seattle Mariners rallied for two eighth-inning runs to beat them 2-1 Wednesday night. The Angels could barely touch Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who gave up just five hits in nine innings.
The Angels remain stuck at 3 1/2 games back.
Haren deals. Dan Haren hadn't been losing games, but his previous four starts had been mediocre by his standards. Haren got back to his early-season form, working 7 2/3 strong innings. He retired 16 batters in a row from the second through the seventh inning.
Trout sparks. Mike Trout continues to do things to help the Angels win. He blooped a single to center, moved up on a sacrifice and scored on Howie Kendrick's RBI hit through the left side of the infield. That was the sum total of the Angels' offense against Hernandez.
Angel killer. Angels fans might not have known much about him before this series, but they know Seattle's first baseman know. Mike Carp -- who is from Lakewood -- connected for the decisive hit off reliever Scott Downs, two nights after he had hit the game-winning home run. The Rangers should send him a team Christmas card.
Beaten Downs. Scott Downs has been the most reliable Angels reliever all year, but this is the time of year when everything is magnified. He gave up the two-run double that lost the game for Haren and blew a crucial chance for the Angels to make up ground.
Abreu's passivity. Everybody in baseball knows Bobby Abreu has one of the best eyes in the game, but he has taken so many pitches this season, the umpires seem to give him the benefit of the doubt less often. Abreu bickered with plate umpire Brian Knight and may have had some gripes, but needs to be a little more willing to earn his way on base.
Crucial misplay. Alberto Callaspo's seventh-inning error didn't cost the Angels a run, but it may have cost them the game. Had he not dropped the ball, the Angels would have been facing the Nos. 8, 9 and 1 hitters in the eighth inning. Instead, Carp got to bat with two runners on and that turned out to be bad news for the Angels.
The Angels blew a crucial chance to make up ground on the Texas Rangers when the last-place Seattle Mariners rallied for two eighth-inning runs to beat them 2-1 Wednesday night.