video thumbnail

Pujols powers a solo shot to left-center

Back on May 8, Albert Pujols had hit rock bottom. The Angels first baseman was batting a season-low .190 and had just one home run.

However, since that low point, Pujols has responded, batting .304 with 21 RBIs and hits in 15 of his last 17 games. Pujols also has six home runs over his last 11 contests, including a home run in each of his last three games, all against the Mariners.

"I think you see plate discipline forming with him, you're seeing him lay off some tough pitches, and you're seeing him, when he gets a ball to hit, that he's hitting it hard," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I'm sure he's feeling more comfortable in the box, and you're seeing the results."

Pujols will see if he can make it 4-for-4 against Seattle in the series finale on Sunday at Safeco Field.

It'll be up to Mariners right-hander Hector Noesi to stop Pujols' streak and prevent the Angels from taking a series sweep.

Noesi had one of his finest performances of the season on Tuesday against the Rangers, but still took the loss with the Mariners offense only able to plate one run against Matt Harrison.

Noesi was tagged for three runs with two outs in the third inning after a two-run triple by Elvis Andrus and an RBI double by Josh Hamilton, which proved to be the difference.

In all, the right-hander surrendered three runs on three hits in eight innings of work, while striking out a career-high seven.

"Just one bad pitch, he hung a breaking ball [to] Andrus, that was it," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said after the game. "He was outstanding in eight strong innings. Did a great job against that lineup. Didn't let that [pitch] get to him either -- which I think says a great deal about that young man -- and gave us every opportunity to win the ballgame."

Angels: Wilson takes the mound
C.J. Wilson will get the start for the Angels in Sunday's finale after tossing a gem his last time out against the A's.

Giving up just one hit in eight scoreless innings, Wilson allowed only four baserunners all night and struck out seven for the win.

"I realized that I was throwing a no-hitter for four innings or whatever, but the way they were actually putting the bat on the ball, I didn't really feel like I was dominating," Wilson said after the game. "It wasn't like a really good swing-and-miss night for me."

He's 9-5 with a 4.04 ERA in his career against the Mariners.

Mariners: League out as closer
• After blowing his fourth save of the season on Friday, Mariners closer Brandon League is no longer the team's closer, manager Eric Wedge said on Saturday. Wedge said the team will now play the matchups, opting not to name another closer.

League gave up three runs to the Angels in the top of the ninth inning on Friday in a 6-4 loss, the third time in four outings he allowed at least two runs in the ninth inning.

"We talked to Leaguer and we're going to pull him back a little bit and give him some opportunities outside that closing role and work to get him back on track," Wedge said. "Very similar to what we did last year. I would say that worked well for him and for us. So we talked to him about that and a couple little things we feel like he needs to do.

• Injured outfielder Franklin Gutierrez (plantar fasciitis) ran for the second time Saturday, and could take the next step in the rehab process on Sunday in extended spring games in Arizona.

"I want to see how he feels today," Wedge said. "I know he's up around that 70-80 percent, if he's not beyond that 70-80 percent today, then we'll probably have to keep him around here for another couple of days and then get him to Arizona."

Worth Noting
• The Mariners have 14 steals in their last 12 games, an unusual amount considering the team collected just 17 in their first 37 contests.

• Angels pitchers have allowed just eight runs in their last 51 innings pitched, including two shutouts in the last five games.

• Alberto Callaspo's pinch-hit grand slam in Saturday's game marked the first time such a feat had been done by an Angel since Shane Halter hit one on May 8, 2004, against Tampa Bay. Comments