The second half of the 2014 season kicked off Friday night with a full slate of games, including the Mariners hitting the road to take on the Angels. After what turned into an extremely long night for both teams, Efron Navarro's 16th inning walk-off gave the Angels a 3-2 win at home.
Jered Weaver started the night on the mound for the Angels, and was essentially in cruise control through six innings. He had a shutout intact as he opened up the seventh with a 2-0 lead, but a pair of RBI singles from Brad Miller and Endy Chavez would chase him from the game unable to pick up a decision. From there, it was a revolving door of pitchers for the Angels, as nine pitchers in total would take the mound throughout the night.
Offensively, they got their help early on. That early two-run lead was thanks in part to David Freese, who doubled home the game's first run in the bottom of the fifth. He stretched out the double on a catching error and would end up at third. Moments later, he was brought home by a Hank Conger single.
But the hero of the night would be Efron Navarro. A one-out double from Mike Trout would set the stage for a late-game heroic effort. After Albert Pujols grounded out and Josh Hamilton was intentionally walked, Navarro was brought in as a pinch-hitter. He took the first pitch he saw, a 94-MPH fastball, back up the middle to send Trout home as the winning run. Remembering the two teams still had to play again on Saturday, it was a crucial victory for the Angels.
The win marked six in a a row, and a franchise-best 12th straight win over an AL West opponent. The Mariners have now lost five of their last seven heading into Saturday. The Angels remain 1½ games behind Oakland, who knocked off Baltimore on Friday night as well.
Hector Santiago picks up the official win, as he worked the final three innings for the Angels. He allowed just two hits in that stretch to slightly improve his record to 2-7 on the year. Dominic Leone is credited with the loss, pitching the final two-thirds of the 16th inning and giving up the winning run. The loss drops him to 2-2 on the year.
These two teams continue their series on Saturday night at Angels Stadium of Anaheim, with first pitch set for 9:05 Eastern. Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.12 ERA) takes the mound for Seattle, coming off his start in Tuesday night's All-Star Game. Garrett Richards (11-2, 2.55 ERA) will start for the Angels, having the third best ERA in baseball coming off the break. This should be an interesting match, as King Felix is 7-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 94 strikeouts over his last 11 starts. The Angels however, have won their last eight games where Richards was the starter.