- Associated Press - Saturday, April 23, 2016

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Once Nick Tropeano got through a laborious first-inning, he was fine. All the Seattle Mariners got off the right-hander were a couple of bases-loaded sacrifice flies before Kole Calhoun and C.J. Cron got him off the hook with home runs.

But Jose Alvarez surrendered an RBI single in the 10th by pinch-hitter Franklin Gutierrez and a two-run homer by Nelson Cruz, sending the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-2 loss Friday night in the opener of a six-game homestand.

Tropeano threw 96 pitches over 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs, four hits and four walks while striking out five. He began the season at Triple-A, but was recalled to replace the injured Andrew Heaney in the rotation.

“The first couple of innings, his pitch count was getting away from him and he really wasn’t efficient,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “The second time through the lineup, though, he looked strong through the fifth and he battled.”

Tropeano found himself in a bases-loaded, no-out situation after his first 10 pitches, and the Mariners grabbed a 2-0 lead on the sac flies by Cruz and Adam Lind.

“My fastball command was poor early, but I thought I made a little bit of an adjustment after the first and executed those pitches early in the count instead of nit-picking at the corners,” Tropeano said. “I was being aggressive, feeding off that fastball command, and that makes every other pitch better.”

Calhoun got one of the runs back in the fourth against Hisashi Iwakuma with his second homer of the season, one pitch after Albert Pujols grounded into his second double play of the night.

Cron tied it in the fifth with a leadoff homer to center field, his first of the season. But the Angels got only one more hit after that.

Iwakuma allowed two runs and six hits, giving up solo homers to Kole Calhoun and C.J. Cron after getting staked to a 2-0 lead. The right-hander struck out three and walked one. The right-hander got the assignment a day earlier than he expected because Felix Hernandez was scratched with a case of the flu.

“I had four days rest, so physically I was fine,” Iwakuma said through a translator after his 89-pitch effort.”Mentally, I felt pretty well, too, because of the fact that I’ve faced the Angels many times and I’ve done well in this ballpark. So that gave me mental comfort.”

Iwakuma gave up opposite-field singles to his first two batters, Yunel Escobar and Rafael Ortega, but Mike Trout flied out and Pujols grounded into a DP started by second baseman Robinson Cano behind the bag. The three-time NL MVP is batting just .138 through his first 17 games with two homers and 10 RBIs.

“Nobody takes this harder, or works at this harder, than Albert,” Scioscia said. “His last 30 at-bats, he hasn’t got as many hits as he’d like. But he’ll be there. He’ll figure it out. He’ll be as productive as any year he’s played. And, when he finds it, he will keep it.”

Former Angels right-hander Joel Peralta (1-0) got the victory with a perfect inning of relief, and Steve Cishek pitched a perfect 10th for his fourth save in as many chances.

SPIKE MARKS

Angels: Tropeano picked off Aoki at first base in the second inning. … Escobar robbed Cruz of extra bases with a diving grab across the third-base line to open the Mariners’ eighth. Ortega threw out Lind trying to stretch his hit down the left-field line into a double leading off the ninth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: LHP C.J. Wilson, who has been on an extended spring training in Arizona while rehabbing from shoulder surgery last August, rejoined the club on Friday. He is expanding his throwing program to distances of 90 feet before he is cleared to get back on a mound. . Bullpen coach Scott Radinsky was back in the clubhouse after being hospitalized in Oakland last week because of chest pains. But he is not yet ready to resume his normal duties, and is scheduled to undergo more tests.

UP NEXT

Mariners: Hernandez (1-1) is 7-2 with a 1.37 ERA in his last 14 starts against the Angels - including four last season in which he pitched at least six innings and allowed fewer than two runs.

Angels: LHP Hector Santiago (1-0) pitched seven innings of two-hit ball and struck out 10 last Monday in a 7-0 victory against the White Sox at Chicago. He is 3-0 over his last nine starts, and Los Angeles has won all of them.


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