SEATTLE (AP) — As the night wore on, Eric Wedge began to feel more comfortable standing back on the railing of the Seattle Mariners dugout and making baseball decisions for the first time in a month.
There just weren't many highlights for the Mariners skipper.
"My energy was good and the focus was good. Just didn't have a whole hell of a lot of action tonight," Wedge said.
Chris Nelson hit a two-run homer off Felix Hernandez and the Los Angeles Angels ruined Wedge's return to the dugout with a 2-0 victory over the Mariners on Friday night.
Wedge managed the Mariners for the first time since he had a mild stroke a month ago. He acknowledged being anxious about getting back on the bench and called his ailment "a heads up."
Wedge's month off was filled with doctor's appointments and meetings, researching and relaxing, with the goal of figuring out why he had suffered a stroke at 45 years old and how to prevent it from happening again.
"It's a shot across the bow, it's a mulligan, it's a heads up," Wedge said before the game. "And I'm taking it as such."
The Mariners welcomed back their boss with the kind of offensively inept performance that has become far too common in Wedge's three seasons.
"I think that's going to be one of the final steps for us offensively as a ball club, just to stay away from these inconsistencies," Wedge said. "Just to put up better ABs and grind out better ABs and be tougher outs. Where even if you aren't scoring runs, you're driving up pitch counts and you're doing some things to make it difficult for the other team."
Not much was difficult for Los Angeles starter Garrett Richards (4-5), who allowed four hits in 7 1-3 innings. Two relievers finished the five-hitter for the Angels. Only once all night did Seattle get a runner to second base and all five of its hits were singles.
"He's got a live arm. It just dives and cuts," Seattle's Brad Miller said of Richards. "I thought he did a pretty good job the second, third time through using that curveball, keeping us off balance. He pitched a great game."
Nelson snapped an 0-for-17 slide when he connected in the second for his third homer. Josh Hamilton scored on Nelson's long ball after leading off the inning with a single, and it was the only time Hernandez (12-7) was touched all night.
The biggest problem for Hernandez was the gem Richards was tossing on the other side.
The 8 Best Natural Gas Stocks. Find Out How to Invest.