08/11/12 8:55 PM ET
Wilhelmsen returns after birth of daughter
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Wilhelmsen missed the Mariners pregame work, but manager Eric Wedge was just glad the big right-hander was back after going without the 28-year-old in Friday's 6-5 loss in the opening game of the Angels series.
"As long as he's down there by the seventh or eighth inning, we'll be OK," Wedge said with a chuckle.
With Wilhelmsen out of the mix, Wedge stuck with veteran Josh Kinney for the eighth and ninth innings in a tie game Friday, with the right-hander eventually taking the loss on a bases-loaded wild pitch.
Wedge said he was staying away from rookies Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps in that situation, but for different reasons.
"I saved Pryor to be the closer because we didn't have Wilhelmsen," Wedge said. "And I was going to keep Capps away from that situation just yet. He's not too far away from it, but I want to let him pitch a little and give him a few more opportunities."
Giving up five-run lead a rarity for Felix
ANAHEIM -- Provided a little offensive support, Felix Hernandez rarely loses. How rare was Friday's 6-5 defeat when the Mariners' ace was given a five-run lead?
The Mariners hadn't lost a game Hernandez started when they scored five or more runs since May 18, 2010, when they dropped a 6-5 decision to the A's.
And when Hernandez is spotted a five-run cushion in a game? Seattle is now 33-2 in that scenario, the only previous such loss coming on Sept. 23, 2006, at the White Sox.
Hernandez didn't take the loss Friday but wound up with a no-decision when the Angels tied the game at 5-5 and then won it on Josh Kinney's wild pitch in the ninth. Admittedly, there was a little shock after this one.
"It was tough, especially jumping out by five runs real quick," said catcher John Jaso. "And with Felix on the mound, you think we've got this in the bag. But it goes to show you, it's not over until it's over in this game of baseball. It's weird how it all works."
Seattle's defense didn't help matters as one of Hernandez's runs was unearned following a Brendan Ryan error, and the tying run scored when right fielder Eric Thames overthrew the cutoff man and turned a bases-loaded drive down the line by Mike Trout into a game-tying two-run sacrifice fly.
But Hernandez said he didn't have his normal stuff either, particularly with his potent changeup not working. And Jaso, who has caught most of Hernandez's recent dominant run, acknowledged the same.
"He wasn't as sharp as he'd been," Jaso said. "His velocity was down a little. It was just one of those games. You can't jump on his back the whole season, right? And there were a couple tough breaks out in the field, too.
"It happens in a season. We've been pretty good defensively as a team, so it's hard to get mad over a couple of days of things going wrong. You don't want to be complacent about it. We've got to improve it. But this is a good defensive club."
And Hernandez is a pretty fair pitcher. He currently leads the AL in innings pitched (171.0), is third in strikeouts (162) and fifth in ERA (2.74), WHIP (1.10) and opponent's batting average (.229).
Jaso providing punch in first season with Mariners
ANAHEIM -- When John Jaso ripped a three-run home run in Friday's series opener with the Angels, it was a career-high sixth home run of the season for the 28-year-old backup catcher.
Jaso came to Seattle from Tampa Bay with a reputation as a good on-base guy, but he's hitting with more pop this season. His .471 slugging percentage is well above his .365 average in three seasons with the Rays, where he totaled 10 home runs in 203 games.
His current slugging percentage is the highest of any Mariners player as he's added 13 doubles and two triples in just 187 at-bats. Manager Eric Wedge turned him loose with a 3-0 count against Ervin Santana on Friday and he responded with the three-run blast.
"Give him the green light 3-0 and that's what you're supposed to do, turn it around like that," Wedge said. "Or if you're going to miss it, miss it pull-side. It was nice to see how aggressive he was with it.
"He has some power. He's shown that at times. I don't think that's by far the biggest part of his game. He's a line-drive type who can drive the gap or hit one out on occasion."
Wedge has been giving Jaso increased playing time as the season has progressed, including more duties behind the plate in recent weeks.
"He's called a good game," Wedge said. "He has a good feel back there. He's moving around well. He has an air of confidence to him, which I like."
• Friday's 6-5 loss to the Angels was just the third time in franchise history the Mariners have lost on a walk-off wild pitch. The other times were June 18, 1989, at Toronto and June 21, 1999, at Cleveland.
• The Mariners have the most walk-off losses in the AL this year with eight, including six since July 6. The club record of 13 for a season was set last year.
• Justin Smoak went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts on Friday in Memphis as his batting average dipped to .196 for Triple-A Tacoma.