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Angels overcome six-run deficit in ninth to beat Mariners

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Sunday afternoon was not a good day for relief pitchers wearing a Mariners uniform. The Mariners entered the bottom of the ninth inning against the Angels with a healthy 9-3 lead. Casey Fien had the responsibility of keeping the game out of reach for the Halos, but it was a responsibility he could not fulfill.

Albert Pujols led off with a solo home run to center field, making it a 9-4 game. Fien then walked Cliff Pennington, allowed a single to C.J. Cron, and walked Ben Revere to load the bases. Edwin Diaz came in to relieve Fien and he at least got an out when Danny Espinosa hit a ground ball to second base. Diaz fanned Martin Maldonado for the second out. Despite all that happened, the Angels still only had a 1.8 percent chance of winning according to FanGraphs.

Unfortunate for the Mariners, Yunel Escobar followed up with a bases-clearing double, cutting the deficit to 9-7. During the next at-bat, facing Kole Calhoun, Diaz uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Escobar to move to third base. Diaz finished off the at-bat by issuing a walk to Calhoun on four pitches, then walked Trout on four pitches to re-load the bases. Pujols, up for his second at-bat of the inning, singled to right field, plating two runs to tie the game at nine-all. Pennington ended it with a single to right, scoring Trout for the walk-off win.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, teams had lost 346 consecutive games entering Sunday when they trailed by six or more runs entering the ninth inning. The Angels ended that streak.

Erasmo Ramirez to be shut down with a minor lat strain

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Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.