Mariners break up perfect game bid in 6th, beat Angels 8-2

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Adam Frazier broke up Jose Suarez‘s bid for a perfect game in the sixth and added a two-run triple in the ninth, leading the Seattle Mariners to an 8-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.

Ty France had a tying two-run single in a three-run sixth for the Mariners, who have won five of seven after a pair of eventful victories at the Big A.

Suarez (4-5), the Angels’ 24-year-old Venezuelan left-hander, retired Seattle’s first 16 batters and led 2-0 before Frazier’s one-out infield single in the sixth. The next three Mariners also singled, abruptly ending Suarez’s night.

“He’s been pitching really well, but we were able to get a couple of good swings and then get some momentum,” France said.

France, who grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs north of Angel Stadium, chased Suarez before Jesse Winker added a tiebreaking sacrifice fly off Jimmy Herget.

Frazier tripled into the right field corner and then scored on Sam Haggerty‘s infield hit in the ninth off Jesse Chavez. Rookie Julio Rodriguez added a two-run homer, his 19th of the season, in the Angels’ second straight catastrophic ninth inning against the M’s.

“At some point, our offense had to break through,” said Robbie Ray, who pitched six innings of six-hit ball for Seattle. “Lately, it’s been later in the game. … We’re not really looking at the standings, not looking forward to playoffs or whatever. Our focus needs to be on winning the next game.”

Seattle scored four runs in the ninth Monday night to win 6-2.

Luis Rengifo homered and drove in two runs for the Angels, who have lost two straight after winning five of their previous six. Shohei Ohtani had a triple and two singles in his 28th multi-hit game of the season.

Suarez also lost his three-start winning streak and his streak of 23 consecutive innings over four starts without allowing an earned run. He began the season in the Angels’ rotation after pitching superbly down the stretch in 2021, but he was demoted to the minors this spring before returning with a new changeup and a serious upgrade in performance.

“Our at-bats once we got past the fifth inning, I thought, were much better,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Credit to Suarez. We have not done much against him.”

Ray (9-8) struck out 10, and his teammates’ late rally put him in position for his first win since July 15 and his third victory over Los Angeles this season.

Ray dominated in his first two starts against the Angels this season with just two earned runs allowed in 14 innings. He wasn’t quite as sharp early in Anaheim, but settled in to retire 10 of his final 12 batters.

Rengifo extended his impressive August with a solo homer in the first and an RBI single in the third.

Suarez struck out five in his first five innings and didn’t even need an exceptional defensive play to stay perfect. Frazier broke through with a grounder into the hole at shortstop, where David Fletcher fielded it on the run with no chance to make the throw.

AILING ANGELS

OF Mike Trout is near a return from his back injury after taking batting practice last weekend. Interim manager Phil Nevin said the team will let Trout decide when he wants to return, but it’s more likely to be this weekend in Detroit than on Wednesday. … RHP Michael Lorenzen (shoulder) threw a three-inning simulated game. He expects to make two starts for Triple-A Salt Lake next before returning to the Angels’ rotation next month. … OF Jo Adell sat out after his thumb was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning Monday. Adell swung a bat during Lorenzen’s simulated game, but couldn’t throw.

UP NEXT

George Kirby (4-3, 3.39 ERA) takes the mound for Seattle on Wednesday in the series finale. The Angels haven’t announced a starter.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.