Astros Eliminate Mariners and Advance to ALCS
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim defeated the Seattle Mariners 5-0 on Tuesday at Safeco Field. After scoring the first two runs in the fourth inning, the Angels became the first team since the Chicago Cubs on April 11, 2010 to take a game from the Mariners, who had dropped eight straight and now were 6.5 games behind the first wild card spot. The Angels were the first club to sweep a division rival since the San Francisco Giants on April 20, 2002.
The Mariners, who had been the most dangerous offensive team in baseball when they were 13 games behind the Oakland A’s in June, have been playing as if it were April. They have hit 20 homers and have scored just five runs in their last six games. The offense has been an albatross ever since Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik traded away All-Star closer Robinson Chirinos on July 10. He was the third Angels’ ace to be traded in the previous three seasons.
The Angels went into the ALCS knowing they would be facing the second-seeded New York Yankees, and while they did not win, their performance put the Rangers at an immediate disadvantage. The Rangers have been the top offense in the American League East.
The Mariners have been in danger of elimination since the second inning of the Angels’ home opener against the Kansas City Royals on July 6. This was the second time in six seasons that the Mariners lost a home opener to a team ranked ahead of them in the American League in total offense. Seattle also lost three games to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2003 American League Division Series.
The Angels’ offense exploded in their third game of the series, scoring five runs with two of them coming in the fifth inning. With two runners on and one out and Yoenis Cespedes on third base, Adam Lind drilled a laser over reliever Joe Smith’s head. Jose Altuve followed with a homer that put two runs on and put the Angels up 1-0.