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.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.