Thursday, April 11, 2002

Mariners 8, Angels 1




The Associated Press

        ANAHEIM, Calif. — If James Baldwin felt any pressure as the pitcher who replaced Aaron Sele in the Seattle rotation, it didn't show on Wednesday night.

        If anyone felt any pressure, it was Sele.

        Baldwin allowed one run and five hits seven innings as the Mariners defeated the Anaheim Angels 8-1.

        Bret Boone and John Olerud helped fuel the offense with home runs against Sele in his first game against his former teammates.

        Baldwin (2-0) did not allow a hit over his first 4 1-3 innings, after holding Oakland to a run and five hits over seven innings last Friday.

        “I don't think there's any pressure on me,” Baldwin said. “I only feel that I have to do what James Baldwin is capable of doing. I don't go out there and try to pitch like anyone else. I've just got to go out there and pitch my game. I just want to help these guys win ballgames.”

        Dan Wilson drove in three runs to help Seattle beat Anaheim for the 18th time in their last 22 games — including 11 straight at Anaheim. Last season, the Angels finished a franchise-record 41 games behind the AL West-leading Mariners, who tied a major league record with 116 victories.

        Sele (0-2), a two-time All-Star right-hander who left the Mariners to sign a $24 million, three-year contract with the Angels in December, made his second start for Anaheim and was pounded for seven runs and 10 hits in five innings.

        “I've been on three other teams in the American League, so I've gone through that process where you go back and face your old teammates. And tonight was no different,” Sele said.

        “But you've got to play good baseball to beat anybody. And when you pitch the way I did tonight, you don't even give your team a chance to get out of the box. I threw a lot of balls right down the heart of the plate.”

        Wilson admitted that it was difficult for him to watch the pounding his ex-batterymate took — despite the fact that he was inflicting some of it.

        “It's tough, especially for a guy pitching against his former team because he really wants to perform well,” Wilson said. “It's tough to play against guys you've had a relationship with — especially a pitcher-catcher relationship. But Aaron's a professional and he's going to have a great season with that club. I wish him the best.”

        All the damage against Sele was done before his teammates got their first hit off Baldwin — who replaced the right-hander in the Mariners' rotation. Baldwin, signed for $1.25 million, was a combined 10-11 with a 4.42 ERA last season with the Chicago White Sox and Los Angels Dodgers.

        Three of the runs off Sele came on sacrifice flies by Jeff Cirillo, Mark McLemore and Ichiro Suzuki — who was hit by Sele's second pitch of the game.

        Wilson drove in two runs with a double just out of the reach of right fielder Tim Salmon during a four-run fourth, and the Mariners tacked on two more in the fifth on solo homers by Boone and Olerud for a 7-0 lead.

        Wilson also hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh for the Mariners, who hit a major league-leading 70 sacrifice flies last season.

        “Tonight was a great night for us for that reason,” Boone said. “That's part of playing the game, and it's very important. That's something we did unbelievably well last year, and this year we hadn't been doing it to this point. So tonight was a good sign.”

        The Angels got their first hit with one out in the fifth on a ground single up the middle by Tim Salmon, dropped from third to sixth in the order after going 3-for-24 with two RBIs in his first seven games. Salmon was 2-for-3, including a run-scoring single in the seventh.
       

        Notes: Sele was a combined 32-15 with a 4.05 ERA in his two seasons with Seattle. ... Baldwin plunked Angels leadoff batter David Eckstein with his fifth pitch of the game, ending a streak of 15 consecutive batters retired by Seattle pitchers. Eckstein was hit 21 times last season, the most in the AL, and the most ever by a rookie in either league. ... Angels pitching coach Bud Black left the team until Friday due to the death of his mother Helen, 83, in Palm Springs, Calif., on Tuesday night. ... The Angels had their full lineup back on the field for the first time this season, following a five-game suspension to 1B Scott Spiezio and a two-game suspension to 3B Troy Glaus. ... LHP Dennis Cook, who began the season on the DL because of a bruised ribcage, pitched a hitless inning in his Angels debut. Anaheim is his ninth major league team.

       



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