- Mark Saxon, ESPN Staff Writer
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ANAHEIM -- For the second time in nine days, the Seattle Mariners gave up a walk on just three balls.
The Los Angeles Angels' Bobby Abreu reached first base after taking a third ball from Felix Hernandez in the third inning Sunday, official scorer Ed Munson confirmed. The Mariners lost their July 2 game to the San Diego Padres after Doug Fister walked Cameron Maybin on three balls. Maybin eventually scored the winning run in a 1-0 game.
"That's happened twice," Hernandez said after the Mariners lost 4-2. "Only to us."
Nobody on the Mariners argued with home plate umpire Gerry Davis after Abreu's walk Sunday. Abreu flipped his bat and walked to first after taking the 3-and-1 pitch from Hernandez. Seattle's dugout didn't protest. Abreu also thought he had taken four balls, only learning he got it wrong when he returned to the dugout.
Last weekend, Seattle manager Eric Wedge called a team meeting after that fiasco to apologize for missing the count. On Sunday, Wedge claimed he wasn't even upset about Abreu's early walk.
"I was OK with that," Wedge said. "I figured it worked against us last time, let it work for us this time. ... I was fine with (Abreu) not being up there 3-1 with the next two guys coming. I felt good about Felix facing those next two guys. I was hoping for a double play, but we got a strikeout and a popup."
Abreu is a left-handed hitter against the right-handed Hernandez, while Wells and Kendrick are both right-handed batters. Abreu began the game with a .306 career average against Hernandez, while Wells (.263) and Kendrick (.212) were much worse.
Wells and Kendrick both went hitless in three at-bats against Hernandez.
Abreu's walk was the 1,400th of his career, third-most among active players. The veteran slugger can't remember ever taking his base on three balls in any of his previous 1,399 free passes.
"I thought it was ball four, so I guess I got confused, too," Abreu said. "It's funny, and it's weird at the same time. You've got the professional umpires that know everything, and it still happened."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia and his coaches realized what happened almost immediately, but they didn't say a word.
"It happens," Scioscia said with a grin. "It's not the first time it happened."
Both teams agreed the Mariners couldn't blame their fifth straight loss on the gaffe.
Baseball has been on a minor run of counting mistakes recently. Two weeks ago in Texas, Nelson Cruz took ball four on a 3-2 pitch, but didn't take his base, striking out on the next pitch.
Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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