No one in the Seattle Mariners’ dugout expected a ball to come flying in and hit Robinson Cano — the All-Star second baseman getting smacked on the left temple as the Los Angeles Angels’ infielders were getting loose for the seventh inning of a 4-2 win Saturday.
Cano ended up with a sizable welt as a result of rookie shortstop Taylor Featherston’s high throw over first baseman Albert Pujols. Cano felt dizzy and was taken to the clubhouse, where the Mariners’ medical staff checked the second baseman for a concussion. No signs of one were found.
“I’ve been hit in the head before, but I’ve never had anything happen like this,” Cano said. “He’s a young guy, but I don’t think there’s a reason for him to throw that hard between innings. I didn’t hear anything. It hurts more when you don’t expect it. Hopefully, everything goes well through the night and I feel good enough to play.”
Manager Lloyd McClendon sounded more optimistic.
“The Angels doctors checked him out and our staff checked him out. From what we’ve been told, he should be ready to go tomorrow,” McClendon said.
To a man, Cano’s teammates were relieved that it wasn’t anything more series than a bump on the noggin.
“It was scary,” Mariners starter J.A. Happ said. “I kind of saw it happen, and it sounded pretty gross. I saw the throw coming high, but I didn’t have time to really react or say anything. I’m just glad he’s OK, and I’m sure everybody else is, too.”
Garrett Richards (8-5) pitched into the eighth inning, Kole Calhoun hit a two-run homer and third baseman David Freese made a couple of key defensive plays for the Angels.
“Richards is a tough pitcher, and we knew that coming in, so we knew it was going to be a low-scoring game,” McClendon said. “He’s tough. He lived at 69 most of the day and he had a nasty breaking ball.”
Richards allowed two runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking one. The right-hander has given up four earned runs in 37 innings over his last five starts against Seattle and is 3-0 in those games.
“He was great. Garrett’s been throwing the ball well all year long,” Pujols said. “The best thing he’s doing this year is relying on his off-speed stuff. Today he made some great pitches to get out of some jams. He’s a gamer, man.”
Huston Street got three outs for his 21st save in 23 chances. Joe Smith ended the eighth by striking out slugger Nelson Cruz representing the tying run.
Happ (3-5) gave up four runs and seven hits in seven innings and struck out six. The lefty is 0-4 with a 5.76 ERA over his last four starts after five consecutive no-decisions. In four career starts against the Angels, he is 0-4 with an 8.00 ERA.
Daniel Robertson, the sixth different player Angels manager Mike Scioscia has used in the leadoff spot, singled in the first and Calhoun hit his seventh home run.
Seattle got on the board in the sixth on Richards’ wild pitch to Seth Smith after one-out singles by Mike Zunino and Logan Morrison put runners at the corners. Freese saved another run, making a diving stop to his right of Smith’s ground single with the infield shifted way over against the lefty-swinging batter, and Cano grounded into a double play on the next pitch.
Seager led off the Seattle fifth with a single and advanced on a wild pitch before he was tagged out on an unassisted double play by Freese that ended the inning, after Freese caught Miller’s line drive toward the hole.
The Angels loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh on a double by Mike Trout, an intentional walk to Pujols and a walk to Freese. Johnny Giavotella hit an RBI single, and Pujols scored on a groundout to make it 4-1.
Zunino hit a leadoff homer in the eighth.