How could a team with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani lose 14 consecutive games and 18 of 20?
The Seattle Mariners might have been asking themselves that question after falling to the visiting Angels 4-1 Thursday night in the opener of a five-game series that will continue Friday night.
Trout hita pair of two-run homers, and Ohtani, the reigning American League MVP, pitched six scoreless innings and went 2-for-4 at the plate.
"Credit to him -- he's a really good pitcher," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "And, unfortunately, Mr. Trout took care of business."
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Servais addressed Trout formally.
Trout's two homers gave him 49 in 168 career games against the Mariners, his most against any opponent. And he's now hit 30 at Seattle, his most at a visiting stadium and the most by an opposing player at the ballpark.
"I don't know. We play here a lot. I see the ball good," Trout said. "I couldn't tell you one particular thing. They've got a good backdrop."
Both of Trout's home runs, in the third and seventh innings, came after Taylor Ward hit two-out singles.
"You talk about Trout getting homers, but when Ward gets on base in front of him, they're two-run homers," Servais said.
Ward reached on an infield single with two outs in the ninth to put two runners on, but Trout struck out on a 92-mph fastball at the top of the zone from Mariners reliever Matt Festa.
As for Ohtani, the pitching performance -- he allowed three hits, walked two and struck out six -- came a night after he broke up a no-hit bid by the Los Angeles Dodgers' Tyler Anderson with a ninth-inning triple in the Freeway Series.
That meant Ohtani didn't take an early flight to Seattle -- in fact, the Angels didn't reach their team hotel in Seattle until nearly 4 a.m. after travel issues at Los Angeles International Airport.
"Think about it: Last night he was on the base path hitting a triple and then to come out and do (this), it is awesome," Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. "It really was, and he probably could have gone on for seven (innings)."
The Angels are scheduled to send right-hander Michael Lorenzen (6-3, 3.45 ERA) to the mound Friday as they attempt to win consecutive games for the first time since May 22-24.
Lorenzen picked up a victory his last time out, defeating the New York Mets 11-6 on Saturday. Lorenzen allowed one run on six hits in 6 1/3 innings, with one walk and four strikeouts. It was his seventh quality start in 10 outings this season.
Lorenzen is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in one previous relief appearance against Seattle.
The Mariners are set to counter on Friday with lefty Robbie Ray (5-6, 4.52).
Ray signed as a free agent in the offseason after winning the AL Cy Young Award with Toronto last season. Ray is coming off perhaps his best start with Seattle, as he went seven scoreless innings Sunday against Boston but didn't get a decision in a 2-0 defeat.
--Field Level Media