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Mariners fall 3-2 to Angels in 16 innings despite strong effort by bullpen

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ANAHEIM, Calif. - In a classic battle of the bullpens that lasted through the 16th inning, the Seattle Mariners came up just short against the Los Angeles Angels.

Efren Navarro singled home a run with two outs in the 16th against Dominic Leone, the eighth Mariners pitcher, and Hector Santiago was the last one standing in the Angels' 3-2 victory on Friday night in the first game following the All-Star break.

"Our bullpen has been great all year. Tonight was no different. It was a tough challenge against a team like that," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We certainly had opportunities. So did they."

The worst-line-of-the-night award went to Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, who was 0 for 7 with three strikeouts. Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen allowed one hit over four innings, struck out four and threw 51 pitches in the longest of his 192 big league appearances.

"It was a tough one. We all are doing everything we can to win," Wilhelmsen said. "Everybody is. I told him (manager Lloyd McClendon) had another inning in me. I can't remember the last time I pitched four innings. It's been a long time."

Leone (2-2) gave up a one-out double to All-Star MVP Mike Trout in the 16th and intentionally walked Josh Hamilton with two out after a comebacker by Albert Pujols. Navarro batted for John McDonald and stroked the first pitch up the middle to bring home Trout, ending the 5-hour, 14-minute marathon.

"We kept grinding it out," manager Mike Scioscia said. "That was just a tough grindout game against a really good pitching staff. Those guys do a great job, especially in the bullpen. So for us to stay with them, we had to pitch. Everybody on the mound did a great job for us, we made some good plays defensively and got a big hit at the end. It took a while, but we got it done."

Robinson Cano, who was 4 for 6 with a walk, greeted Jason Grilli with a leadoff drive to right-centre in the 10th and got to second with a pop-up slide. But shortstop McDonald, who had entered the game as a pinch-runner for the injured Erick Aybar, kept his glove on Cano after getting Trout's relay from centre field. Scioscia requested a video review, and Cano was ruled out.

Aybar led off the ninth with a single against Charlie Furbush, but left with a groin injury as McClendon switched to Danny Farquhar. McDonald advanced on Howie Kendrick's sacrifice, but Farquhar struck out David Freese and C.J. Cron.

Seattle righty Hisashi Iwakuma allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings and was lifted after just 77 pitches. The new no-collision rule played a huge part in the Angels scoring the game's first run, after Hendrick led off their two-run fifth with a single and came all the way around on Freese's double to the wall in right-centre.

Second baseman Cano got the relay from right fielder Endy Chavez and got the ball to the plate in plenty of time to get Kendrick, who jarred the ball loose from Mike Zunino's glove on an attempted sweep tag. Freese continued to third on Zunino's error and scored on Hank Conger's single through a drawn-in infield.

Jered Weaver, who was charged with two runs and six hits in six-plus innings and struck out eight. Santiago (2-7), the ninth Angels pitcher, allowed one hit over 2 1-3 innings to get the victory.

The Angels' victory, coupled with Oakland's 5-4 win against Baltimore, kept them within 1 1-2 games of the Athletics for the AL West lead. They have won six straight, and are a major league-best 27-9 since June 6.

NOTES: The Angels agreed to terms with LHP Sean Newcomb, their No.1 draft pick last month and the 15th overall selection. ... When Weaver threw a called third strike past James Jones in the fourth, he became the second Angels pitcher with at least 100 strikeouts in nine consecutive seasons. LHP Chuck Finley had a 12-year streak from 1988 through 1999. All-time strikeout king Nolan Ryan spent eight seasons with the Halos.

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