But Santana, who allowed a season-high seven walks -- after giving up six freebies in his previous three starts combined -- kept Seattle in check just enough, despite allowing three runs in the third inning. A Howard Kendrick solo home run in the fourth ended up the difference, as Los Angeles squeaked by with a 4-3 win over Seattle in front of 19,453 at Safeco Field.
Also helping the Angels' cause was another first inning struggle from Seattle starter Charlie Furbush. After a suffering through a shaky first inning in his previous start on Friday, the 25-year-old southpaw talked of how the first frame has "kind of been a telltale."
Though Furbush would go on to pitch six relatively strong innings and give up just four hits, the first inning hurt him again, beginning when first baseman Mike Carp misplayed a Maicer Izturis foul popup to start the game. Just one pitch later, Furbush dinged Izturis in the kneecap.
After Furbush walked Peter Bourjos and struck out Kendrick, Torii Hunter launched a 1-2 pitch over the head of Casper Wells in left field for his 19th home run to put the Angels up, 3-0. Furbush ended up throwing 29 first-inning pitches in addition to his 35-pitch first inning Friday against Chicago.
But Santana, who came in with a 6-1 record and a 2.06 ERA in his last eight starts, also lost a bit of control in the second inning. The righty went 1-2-3 in a quick first, but then walked Carp and Kyle Seager in the second. A struggling Wells then grounded out into a 5-4-3 double play, but Seattle finally got to the Santana in the third.
After Kendrick's solo shot made it 4-0 in the top half, Santana allowed two straight walks before Ichiro Suzuki ripped a double down the first-base line to drive in Brendan Ryan and cut the Angels lead to 3-1.
Two batters later, Dustin Ackley collected his 31st and 32nd RBIs of the season with a single up the middle. The Mariners had suddenly made it a one-run game.
Santana gave up three more walks after the wild third inning, but kept the Mariners hitless until Ichiro's single chased him in the seventh. Santana ended up going 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs off four hits to improve to 11-9. He has tossed seven innings or more in nine straight starts, going 7-1 during that stretch, and is 5-0 in his last five road starts.
Furbush gave up four runs off just four hits and fell to 3-7 on the year. He has now lost three consecutive starts after starting his Mariners campaign 2-1.
Seattle rookies Wells and Trayvon Robinson continued to struggle mightily. Wells went 0-for-4 and is now hitless in his last 28 at-bats, while Robinson went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and has one hit in his last 18 at-bats.
The Mariners went 2-5 on this homestand against Chicago and Los Angeles and will embark on a six-game road swing beginning with Oakland on Friday night.