SEATTLE (AP) — A first half of struggles and frustration for Los Angeles Angels starter Joe Blanton finally reached a tipping point on Sunday.
Blanton (2-12) lasted just four innings — his shortest outing of an already lackluster season — and the Angels were swept with a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.
After putting together three solid outings to end the month of June, Blanton has been knocked around in his last three starts. He has just one victory in his last nine starts and quickly fell behind Seattle again on Sunday. Michael Saunders hit a two-run home run in the second inning to give the Mariners the lead and Mike Zunino delivered a sacrifice fly to score another run in the fourth inning to put Seattle on top 3-0.
That's when Blanton's anger over his performance finally boiled over.
Blanton attacked a water cooler and threw it to the ground in the Angels dugout after coming off the mound following the fourth inning. He then appeared to get into a verbal altercation with catcher Chris Iannetta. Pitching coach Mike Butcher was also involved in the squabble.
Iannetta called it "a miscommunication" but wouldn't elaborate on the incident. Blanton was also mum on specifics but chalked it up to frustration.
"Any time things aren't going good it kind of brings things to a little volcano, a little head, whatever you want to call it," Blanton said.
"Things aren't going well. You try and do more out there competing with everything. Things happen. Guys get mad at giving up runs, striking out. It's part of it sometimes."
Iannetta and manager Mike Scioscia both claimed the incident won't be an issue.
"It was something between us," Iannetta said. "Really not that big of a deal."
Blanton returned to the mound for the fifth inning but didn't remain there long. Brad Miller singled, Nick Franklin walked and Raul Ibanez doubled to score a run and chase Blanton from the game.
"All I could throw today was a fastball," Blanton said. "It makes it tough. I didn't have my changeup or curve to go to. Either one. It made it a tough day to pitch when all you can throw for a strike is your fastball."
Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4) won for the first time in over a month as the Mariners completed their first sweep of the season. Iwakuma gave up three runs in seven innings for his first win since June 10. He had allowed at least four runs in each of his prior five starts, losing three of them.
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