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OC Register: Angels hitters come up empty again, dropping series to Mariners


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  • Los Angeles Angels Jaime Barria delivers a pitch during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Jefry Marte #19 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim catches a foul ball by Ryon Healy #27 of the Seattle Mariners for an out in the second inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

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  • Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Marco Gonzales adjusts his hat after loading the bases with a walk of Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits into a double play against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Dee Gordon #9 of the Seattle Mariners tags Justin Upton #8 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim out at second base and makes the throw to first for the double play in the first inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts after striking out in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, center, watches the game from the dugout bar in the second inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Chris Herrmann #26 of the Seattle Mariners scrambles to get the out on David Fletcher #6 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as he runs into his strikeout in the second inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • Seattle Mariners’ Dee Gordon watches his RBI-single off of Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jaime Barria during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Guillermo Heredia #5 of the Seattle Mariners scores in the third inning on a single by Dee Gordon #9 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Jaime Barria #51 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim delivers against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a double in the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Kole Calhoun #56 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim watches his RBI sacrifice fly against the Seattle Mariners in the fourth inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Ian Kinsler is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • Seattle Mariners’ Guillermo Heredia watches his RBI-double off of Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jaime Barria during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim makes a throw to first base for an out as Ian Kinsler #3 looks on in the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Marco Gonzales #32 of the Seattle Mariners delivers against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the fifth inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim yells after striking out against Marco Gonzales #32 of the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout reacts after striking out looking to Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Marco Gonzales during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Ben Gamel #16 of the Seattle Mariners shouts after scoring on a double by Guillermo Heredia #5 in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • Seattle Mariners’ Dee Gordon gestures to second base as Nelson Cruz congratulates Ben Gamel, who scored on a double by Guillermo Heredia off Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jaime Barria during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Jaime Barria #51 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is taken out of the game by manager Mike Scioscia in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 5, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels reliever Miguel Almonte delivers a pitch during the sixth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani congratulates relief pitcher Miguel Almonte in the dugout after Almonte got the final out of the sixth inning a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Miguel Almonte reacts after giving up a solo home run to Seattle Mariners’ Chris Herrmann during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • Several fans hold up photos of Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani for autographs while one fan holds up sign wishing Ohtani a happy birthday, before a baseball game between the Angels and the Seattle Mariners, Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout autographs a shoe for a fan before a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners , Tuesday, July 3, 2018, in Seattle. The Mariners won the game 4-1. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, left, shakes hands with Seattle Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki before a baseball game Thursday, July 5, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

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SEATTLE — The Angels came to Safeco Field looking to kick-start their stalled season.

Instead they just got kicked.

The Angels lost 4-1 to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, dropping two of three in the series against one of the teams they need to catch if they are going to get back into the playoff chase.

They are now 12 games behind the Mariners in the race for the second American League wild-card spot, with six more games to go against Seattle at Angel Stadium the rest of the month.

In both of their losses, the primary issue was the offense. The Angels scored one run apiece on Tuesday and Thursday against Mariners starters Wade LeBlanc and Marco Gonzales, respectively.

They had an opportunity to do some quick damage to Gonzales in the first inning when he walked leadoff hitter David Fletcher and then Andrelton Simmons singled.

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After Mike Trout struck out, Justin Upton walked, loading the bases with one out for Albert Pujols.

Pujols had improved this year in terms of grounding into double plays. After hitting in a double play in 19.1 percent of his chances last year, he was at 14.8 percent this year, which is about league average.

But this time, he bounced one to right to third baseman Kyle Seager, who started an inning-ending double play.

That was the Angels’ best chance, but they had two on with one out in the second, and a runner at second with one out in the third. They didn’t score until Kole Calhoun’s sacrifice fly in the fourth.

Then they didn’t get another hit until the eighth, and by then their deficit had grown to three runs.

In that inning, they had runners at first and second with one out against Alex Colome. Manager Mike Scioscia chose to use Luis Valbuena, instead of Shohei Ohtani, to pinch-hit. Valbuena struck out. Ian Kinsler then hit a line drive that Dee Gordon caught with a remarkable dive, ending the inning. Ohtani was on deck to hit if the inning had continued.

The Angels hitters couldn’t do much to support Jaime Barría, but at least they helped him out in the field.

Barría gave up two runs in 5-1/3 innings, escaping further damage thanks to a pair of double plays, increasing their league-leading total to 80 this year. Coming into the game, they had converted on 12 percent of their double play opportunities, which was tied for the league lead.

Before the game, Scioscia had given credit to Simmons and Kinsler for those numbers.

“We’re not leading the league in double plays as a fluke,” Scioscia said. “When guys get on, if we get a ground ball, we are turning double plays at an incredible rate. You have to look at the guys in the middle, Andrelton and Ian. These guys are as good as there is at their positions. It’s helped our pitching staff.”

More to come on this story.

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