Angels fall to Mariners after Torii Hunter loses ball in sun

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It was a lousy way for Scott Downs’ scoreless streak to end.

The Angels and Mariners were tied at one headed to the bottom of the ninth after Dan Haren and Doug Fister dueled to a stalemate for right innings.

After David Pauley worked a scoreless top of the ninth for Seattle, the bottom of the inning with Jack Cust’s accidental swinging bunt single down the third-base line with the shift on. After a sacrifice bunt and a groundout, Carlos Peguero hit a routine fly to center that Torii Hunter lost in the sun, giving the Mariners the game.

The loss was the Angels’ fifth in a row and dropped them under .500 to 22-23 on the season.

Hunter was making his first start of the year in center in place of Peter Bourjos.  He made a terrific running catch at the wall in the seventh, robbing Peguero of a double.

The unlucky run against Downs was the first he’s given up in 12 appearances this season.

Haren, though, is the truly unfortunate one.  He’s 0-2 with a 2.33 ERA over his last six starts.  Twice during that stretch, Fernando Rodney has blown leads in relief of him.

Fister can sympathize.  His record held at 2-4 as he lowered his ERA to 2.93.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.