It wasn’t Selection Sunday for the Mariners, which is probably a good thing for Ariel Miranda and Casey Fien among others after the shambles of a 9-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Miranda failed to last two innings in his return to the rotation after a lights-out relief appearance on May 8 against Cleveland. He gave up four runs in 1 2/3 innings while allowing four hits and two walks.
"You have these days every once in a while in spring training," manager Scott Servais said. "(Miranda) was really out of sync. We brought him back after he had the one inning (in relief), and we messed up his schedule.
"Understanding he didn’t have his normal rest between (outings), but he just wasn’t sharp. You saw it right from the get-go today."
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Fien had pitched his way into contention for a bullpen job after four scoreless one-inning outings, but he also had a rough time at Tempe Diablo Stadium in giving three runs on three hits and two walks in his only inning.
"He had a couple pitches that were close that he didn’t get (called strikes) early on," Servais said. "Sometimes, guys let that affect them a little bit. But he wasn’t sharp today. He’ll get another shot.
"It’s important to get these guys earlier into games. You start seeing the `A’ lineup, which the Angels ran at us today."
There were also some notable o-fers in the lineup: Leonys Martin, Guillermo Heredia and Dan Vogelbach — the first, second and fourth hitters in the lineup — were a combined 0-for-9.
It wasn’t all bad.
Right-hander Max Povse retired nine straight batters over three innings. Acquired in November from Atlanta, he is likely to open the season at Double-A Arkansas.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak in which the Mariners, now 10-6, scored the winning runs each time in their last at-bat.
The Mariners actually grabbed a 2-0 lead on Tyler Smith’s two-out homer in the second inning against Angels starter Jesse Chavez.
LA answered with four runs later in the inning. Albert Pujols led off with a double to left, although he would have been out at second if Smith had handled a one-hop throw from Heredia.
Instead, Pujols took third on the error, charged to Heredia, and walked home on a wild pitch. It went downhill in a hurry from that point for Miranda.
C.J. Cron followed with a single before Miranda walked Cameron Maybin. Both runners scored when Danny Espinosa ripped a double past third, and the Angels led 3-2.
David Fletcher’s one-out single scored Espinosa.
The Angels clubbed Fien for three more runs in the third inning. Pujols drew a leadoff walk, and Cron followed by lining a homer to left. One-out doubles by Tony Sanchez and Fletcher made it 7-2.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Angels center fielder Mike Trout took extra bases away from Martin with a diving catch in the left-center gap for the first out of the game.
PLUS: Jean Machi replaced Miranda with two outs and runners at the corners in the second inning and retired Mike Trout on a grounder to second…Smith had a double in addition to his two-run homer in his three at-bats.
MINUS: Right-hander Rob Whalen allowed two runs in his only inning, although one was unearned…Smith probably should have handled Heredia’s throw in the second inning. That error opened the door to a four-run inning.
SPRING BATTLES: Mike Freeman started at shortstop and committed an error on the play in the LA first, and then made a diving catch to retired the next batter. The error was Freeman’s fourth of the spring, which figures to be a big factor in his bid to win a utilityman job…Heredia had his worst day of the spring: 0-for-3 with an error.
QUOTABLE: "Max Povse was really good," Servais said. "Probably the highlight of the day was the way he threw the ball. He got his breaking ball going, and he’s a tick up in velocity since he’s been in our camp."
SHORT HOPS: Catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, who projects as the starter at Triple-A Tacoma, had a heads-up play to record the first out in the first inning. Yunel Escobar reached on an errant throw by Freeman, but Gosewisch retrieved the ball and tagged Escobar, who had turned toward second base.
UP NEXT: Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma will make his third start when the Mariners play Milwaukee at 1:05 p.m. Monday in Maryvale. He is scheduled to pitch three innings.
Five relievers are tentatively slotted to pitch: Ryan Weber, Evan Scribner, Marc Rzepczynski, Paul Fry and Nick Hagadone. Milwaukee will start right-hander Junior Guerra.
The only live coverage of the game is on mariners.com, although 710 ESPN will air a delayed broadcast at 7 p.m. Root Sports Northwest is not televising the game.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: 21
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners