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LAA@SEA: Maurer shuts down Angels, fans six

Mariners rookie Brandon Maurer has pitched in Anaheim before, but never in the Major Leagues.

Maurer will start for Seattle on Wednesday in the finale of a two-game series at Angel Stadium, about 12 miles from where he grew up in Costa Mesa, Calif.

For Maurer, the homecoming means his first chance to pitch in front of friends and family, which brings some extra pressure.

"I've already tried to start managing the nerves and trying to calm it down," said Maurer, 2-5 with a 5.75 ERA in eight starts. "It's going to be fun to throw in front of people you played with growing up."

The right-hander pitched at Angel Stadium once when he was in high school, during a tryout for the Angels Elite team.

"That was pretty cool," Maurer said. "I remember it just being so big, just standing there looking up at all those seats, it just seemed so big. But I guess that's normal now."

Besides the pressure of pitching so close to home, Maurer will be challenged by an Angels offense that scored 12 runs on 15 hits on Tuesday night.

The Angels have won three games in a row and are 4-4 on a nine-game homestand that concludes on Wednesday.

While the Angels are playing better baseball recently and are close to getting back to full strength, the club still has a large hole to climb out of after a 9-17 mark in April.

"It's a grind, the season keeps coming," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It doesn't matter what your depth is at one time, you have to go out there and try to win a game. We haven't done that as well as we can in the first weeks of the season, but hopefully we can go out there and do it better."

C.J. Wilson will start for the Angels on Wednesday, and will be glad to oppose someone other than White Sox left-hander Chris Sale. Wilson had two strong outings against the White Sox last week, only to come away with two lossed because Sale twice shut out the Angels.

Wilson is 3-3 with a 3.72 ERA in nine starts and beat the Mariners April 26 in Seattle.

Mariners: Chavez contributing off bench
Mariners outfielder Endy Chavez has seen his playing time shrink with Michael Saunders back from the disabled list, but the veteran is still finding ways to make an impact in a limited role.

Chavez hit a pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth on Monday in Cleveland in a game Seattle lost in the 10th. It was the first pinch-hit homer to give the Mariners the lead in the ninth inning or later since Ken Griffey Jr. on Sept. 16, 1990 in Anaheim.

Chavez, 35, is 3-for-10 in the first eight games of the current road trip. He's started just four games since Saunders was activated on April 29, but is still hitting .289 in 76 at-bats.

"I just work and be ready physically, doing my exercises and work on the field," Chavez said. "I take BP like I'm playing and that's getting results. I feel good."

Angels: Aybar injures right knee
Angels leadoff hitter Erick Aybar left Tuesday's game in the sixth inning, the result of right knee soreness.

The shortstop scored twice and was 2-for-3 with two doubles before he was removed from the game for pinch-hitter Brendan Harris.

Aybar missed 18 games in April while he was on the disabled list because of a left heel contusion.

Aybar is hitting .258 with eight doubles and eight runs scored, while getting on base at a .276 clip.

Worth noting
• Mariners catcher Kelly Shoppach is 6-for-12 (.500) in his career against Wilson with three homers and seven RBIs. Comments