Seeking a fifth consecutive win over Seattle, Wilson takes the mound opposite fellow lefty Joe Saunders as the Angels continue a four-game set with the visiting Mariners on Wednesday night.
After going 1-5 over his previous seven outings, Wilson (5-5, 3.90 ERA) got back on track with an impressive display in Friday's 5-2 win over the New York Yankees . The two-time All-Star allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings, improving to 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA over his last six home starts.
"A win's a win. I'll take a pretty win or an ugly win, or whatever," said Wilson, who at 87 2-3 innings is nearly halfway to his fourth consecutive 200-inning campaign. "I'm very motivated to pitch deep into the game, and pitching a lot of innings is really what separates the good pitchers from the really good pitchers. I'm just trying to get back up to that level where I feel like I deserve to be."
Wilson has proven nearly unbeatable against the Mariners (32-40) since the start of 2011, going 7-1 with a 2.24 ERA and 65 strikeouts in nine starts spanning 60 1-3 innings. He yielded one run, six hits and struck out 10 in a season-high eight innings May 22 in a 7-1 victory, winning his third consecutive start in the series.
The Mariners give the ball to Saunders (5-6, 4.80), who's 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA over his last four starts. He gave up five hits over seven innings of one-run ball in Friday's 3-2 victory at Oakland, improving to 1-4 on the road with a 7.58 ERA - nearly three times higher than his home mark of 2.53.
"It's just a matter of being consistent and staying confident in what you can do," he told MLB's official website. "You know you can do this. It's just a matter of now doing it."
Saunders, who spent the first five-plus years of his career with the Angels (31-40), is set to face his former team for just the second time. He surrendered a two-run homer to Mark Trumbo in a 2-0 loss in Los Angeles last June 16 while with Arizona.
Seattle's Kendrys Morales , meanwhile, delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the 10th inning against his former club in Tuesday's 3-2 win. Acquired from the Angels in exchange for Jason Vargas this offseason, Morales entered the game mired in a 2-for-32 slump.
Ibanez and Justin Smoak also came up big with back-to-back homers in the second inning. Ibanez has hit safely in 13 straight and 27 of 28 games at Angel Stadium, going 41 for 110 (.373) with three homers, 22 runs and 12 RBIs. Smoak was playing in his first game back since missing 18 with a strained oblique.
Los Angeles' Josh Hamilton grounded into a double play in each of his first three at-bats before striking out in his next two. The former AL MVP is hitting .163 with one homer in his last 12 home games.
"It's hard for me to tell why he's struggling because I've only faced him a handful of times," Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush said. "He just working through whatever he's working through to try to get back to the big power numbers that he's had in the past."
Hamilton is 4 for 10 with a homer and a triple against Saunders.
|June 18, 2013||Michael Morse||Day-to-Day||Sore right quad|
|June 08, 2013||Kendrys Morales||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|June 06, 2013||Jesus Sucre||15-Day DL||Left wrist sprain|
|June 04, 2013||Jesus Sucre||Day-to-Day||Left game - left wrist injury|
|June 01, 2013||Jesus Montero||Day-to-Day||Torn left meniscus|
|May 30, 2013||Justin Smoak||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|June 10, 2013||Robert Coello||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 02, 2013||Garrett Richards||Day-to-Day||Left game - Ankle injury|
|May 28, 2013||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|May 27, 2013||Sean Burnett||15-Day DL||Left elbow inflammation|
|May 26, 2013||Sean Burnett||Day-to-Day||Left game - Forearm tightness|
|May 21, 2013||Erick Aybar||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee soreness|
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- In a game in which every pitch was critical, the only run scored on a wild pitch. That's all that separated C.J. Wilson and Joe Saunders .
Wilson outdueled the former Angels left-hander with seven innings of two-hit ball, leading Los Angeles to a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
"Every pitch counts, obviously," Wilson said. "I had this exact kind of game to Jered Weaver a couple of years ago and lost 1-0 on a flyball that Endy Chavez dropped. Mike Trout scored the run after I hit him in the foot, so it was kind of like turnabout is fair play."
Wilson (6-5) struck out three, walked two and allowed only two runners as far as second base en route to his fifth straight victory over the Mariners.
"I've faced these guys three times this year, and they pretty much have an idea of what my repertoire is. So it's about executing," Wilson said. "I can't fool them on stuff right down the middle because they're not going to get surprised if I throw a slider or a changeup, so I have to hit the corners."
Saunders matched zeros with Wilson through five innings, scattering four hits before Trout legged out a leadoff double to left field in the sixth. He advanced after a flyball to right by Albert Pujols and scored on a 2-2 pitch to Mark Trumbo that bounced in the dirt and away from catcher Mike Zunino . It was the first wild pitch of the season for Saunders in 89 2-3 innings to that point.
"It was a tough one, but I'm more mad at myself for letting a run score on a wild pitch," Saunders said. "It was a changeup down. I was trying to get him to hit it on the ground."
Kendrys Morales ' Baltimore-chop single toward third base leading off the second inning was Seattle's only hit until Kyle Seager 's leadoff single in the seventh. But Wilson froze Raul Ibanez on a called third strike in the seventh with runners at first and second, and escaped the inning unscathed when Trout ran down Zunino's drive in front of the bullpen fence.
"It's Mike Trout . Put a cape on him. He's great out there," Wilson said. "That was one of the few curve balls I threw all night, and he was looking for it. It was a strike and he hit it. I was lucky that he didn't hit it higher.
"... They put a lot of balls in play, so it really wasn't a really dominating game for me. I was just making good pitches, but I don't think I had exceptional stuff. That's why I wasn't able to get the strikeouts, which usually are kind of my bail-out if there's a problem in the inning."
Scott Downs pitched a perfect eighth and Ernesto Frieri did likewise in the ninth for his 16th save in 17 attempts.
"It's one of those things where runs were hard to come by tonight," Saunders said. "We didn't score any runs, so you've just got to hang with him. He stepped up his game and I stepped up my game, and it was one of those pitchers' duels. I just picked the wrong day to pitch."
Saunders (5-7) went the distance for the ninth time in 204 career starts, allowing six hits over eight innings with three strikeouts and two walks. A first-round draft pick by the Angels in 2002, he made only one other start against them since he was traded to Arizona in July 2010 for Dan Haren . That was on June 16, 2012, at the "Big A," when he lost 2-0 on a two-run homer in the first inning by Trumbo.
Slumping Josh Hamilton was dropped to seventh in the Angels' lineup by manager Mike Scioscia , one night after he grounded into double plays his first three times up and struck out twice. It was the first time that the 2010 AL MVP started a game in the seven hole since Aug. 5, 1990, with the Texas Rangers . But the change didn't help, as he went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and saw his average dip to .210.
"We've got to figure out something," Hamilton said. "Some players wear emotions on their sleeves and break things, but I'm not going to break my bat on the field because there's kids watching. If they don't think I care, they're mistaken because it hurts me more than it hurts anybody not to be performing."
NOTES: Peter Bourjos was stranded at third base in the third inning when Saunders induced a double-play grounder by Albert Pujols . The Angels have grounded into a major league-worst 77 DPs, 11 of them in the last five games. ... Kendrick lined a single through the box in the sixth, knocking Saunders' glove right off his hand. ... Wilson, who spent his first five big league seasons as a reliever with the Rangers, reached the 1,000-inning mark when he retired Michael Saunders on a foul popup to end the second. ... Erick Aybar got his 100th career stolen base and first since April 30, surpassing Dick Schofield as the Angels' career leader among shortstops. ... Wilson is 8-1 against Seattle in 10 starts since the beginning of the 2011 season.