Familiar foes Angels, Mariners open three-game set

Two teams still catching their collective breaths after dramatic contests in the past 48 hours will hook up for the second time in a week when the Seattle Mariners visit the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night to open a three-game series in Anaheim, Calif.

A pair of left-handers will duel in the series opener when the Mariners' Marco Gonzales (5-6, 4.89) vies with the Angels' Andrew Heaney (0-0, 4.09).

The pitchers will be no strangers to hitters on both sides, as Gonzales worked last Sunday's 13-3 home loss to the Angels, one day after Heaney threw the first six innings of a 6-3 win over the Mariners.

Seattle flew south Thursday night after an exhausting, 8-7 home loss to Houston in an afternoon game that went 14 innings and lasted just over five hours.

The Mariners twice extended the affair, scoring tying runs in each of the ninth and 10th innings.

If there's such a thing as momentum gained from a loss, Mariners manager Scott Servais said his team would have it after the tough defeat.

"Quite a ballgame," he gushed. "Our guys really competed their tails off. I'm really proud of our effort in continuing to come back in the seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th inning -- all trailing. We keep fighting. Really great sign.

"We just didn't quite get it done at the end, but it wasn't for lack of effort."

The Angels prevailed in a similar, albeit shorter, game on Wednesday night, when they rallied from a 7-1 deficit, forged a tie in the eighth and walked off the Oakland Athletics in the ninth for a 10-9 win.

Los Angeles might have paid the price in the rematch Thursday, when the visitors jumped on them again for a 6-1 lead and held on for a 7-4 victory.

The good news for the Angels is they get another shot at Gonzales, against whom they ran up 10 runs in 4 2/3 innings on Sunday.

Albert Pujols had a three-run homer in the assault, while Mike Trout (.462) and David Fletcher (.400) have sparkling lifetime batting averages against the 27-year-old.

So does shortstop Andrelton Simmons (.400), who manager Brad Ausmus insisted Thursday is anxious to return from an ankle injury, but can't quite yet.

"I don't trust him. At all," Ausmus light-heartedly claimed to reporters. "He told me today he could play. Simba is a voracious worker and has a very high pain tolerance. You can make the argument that him at 80 percent is better than most at 100 percent. But we still don't want it to affect his play."

Gonzales has never lost at Los Angeles, going 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA in five starts. Despite Sunday's struggles, he's 4-1 overall against the Angels with a 4.26 ERA in 11 starts.

Heaney, meanwhile, will be looking to build upon two promising season-opening starts, both of which the Angels won. He struck out 10 in a no-decision Saturday in Seattle.

Heaney, 28, has gone 1/3 with a 3.86 ERA in eight career starts against the Mariners.

--Field Level Media
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