Angels lose to Mariners in 10 innings despite strong outing from Griffin Canning

  • Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Lewis, right, celebrates his solo home run with Kyle Seager during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • The Seattle Mariners wear No. 42 in honor of baseball great Jackie Robinson at a baseball game Los Angeles Angels, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, right, steals second base next to Seattle Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Andrelton Simmons, front left, is tagged out by Seattle Mariners third baseman Sam Haggerty in a rundown between first and second base during the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. Simmons drove in Albert Pujols with a single on the play. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols hits a double during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

ANAHEIM — As 2020 continues to get worse for the Angels, at least 2021 is looking a little better.

The Angels lost 2-1 to the Seattle Mariners in 10 innings on Sunday afternoon, while also seeing David Fletcher leave the game with an ankle injury. Fletcher said he expected to be back in a “day or two.”

Despite that, the Angels could still take some solace in the best performance of Griffin Canning’s young career. One of the young pitchers the Angels will need to blossom if they are to return to contention, allowed one run in eight innings, the longest and best of his 24 major league starts.

“This is the kind of game that he’s capable of having on a consistent basis and that’s what you need,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s what needed him to look like, because that’s what we need to be a winning team, a first division team.”

Canning ended up with a no-decision, having allowed only a run on a Kyle Lewis homer in the seventh. The Angels got that run back in the bottom of the inning, when Albert Pujols doubled and scored on a single by Andrelton Simmons.

In the 10th, Jose Quijada allowed the Mariners to covert their free runner into a run. In his Angels debut, Quijada gave up a one-out single to Tim Lopes.

It was the sixth time in seven extra innings the Angels have played this year that they’ve allowed at least one run, and they’ve lost five of the six games. They have cashed in their free runner in just two of them, after coming up empty in the bottom of the 10th on Sunday.

Luis Rengifo, who replaced Fletcher, and Shohei Ohtani both struck out. After an intentional walk to Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon popped out, putting an end to the Angels’ first three-game winning streak of the year.

Although the Angels dropped to 12-23 and back behind the Mariners into last place, Canning still provided reason for optimism in the long run.

Maddon said he could tell a difference in Canning’s fastball when he warmed up before his first pitch, and in his face after he’d thrown his last.

“There was a level of confidence and self-satisfaction that I haven’t seen before,” Maddon said. “He could build off this.”

Canning issued a first-inning walk but then picked off Lewis. He did not allow another baserunner until the fifth inning, when he gave up a single. Canning allowed another hit in the sixth, but the runner was quickly erased on a double play.

Canning needed only 94 pitches to get through eight, his first time this season pitching more than six innings. He surpassed his career-best of seven innings. He threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of 26 hitters, allowing him to be efficient. Coming into the game he had throwing first-pitch strikes to 52 percent of hitters.

Canning said that was just a matter of being “convicted” with his pitches enough to be aggressive with the first pitch.

“Not worrying about making the perfect pitch, 0-0,” Canning said. “Just just attacking them…  For whatever reason in, in baseball and in pitching especially, I feel like hitters can feel a pitchers conviction. So, if you are convicted then you tend to get away with a lot more pitches.”

Canning, who has spoken recently about needing to adjust his game since the league now has a book on him, threw 47 percent fastballs on Sunday, up from 39 percent in his previous starts this year.

His performance was the third straight solid outing for an Angels rotation that has been among the worst in baseball this year. Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy and Canning combined to allow three earned runs in 21 innings this weekend.

“You don’t want to be the guy that goes out there and kind of reverts back to whatever we were doing so,” Canning said. “Guys definitely feed off of it. When Heaney goes out there and has a great outing to start off the series and then Bundy throws well yesterday, I definitely pay attention to it.”

Canning was halfway through his gem when the Angels lost Fletcher. He was trying to beat out an infield hit in the third and landed awkwardly on his left leg after hitting the bag with his right. He had slightly veered off to the right to avoid the pitcher covering the bag. He crumpled to the ground, and then walked gingerly off the field.

He continued in the game for one inning on defense, but then left.

“I felt like it was getting a little better a minute or two after it happened, so I thought I could go out and play,” he said, “but that inning in the field I was pretty limited moving.”