SEATTLE -- Even though he couldn't find the strike zone, Ervin Santana found a way to win.
"It's one of those days, you know? Always a first time," Santana said. "I did not have my best stuff today. I just battle."
Hunter hit a three-run shot in the first inning and the Angels remained 3 1/2 games behind AL West leader Texas. The Rangers beat Tampa Bay 7-2.
Santana (10-9), given an early lead, was not nearly as sharp he had been since mid-July, when he went on a five-game winning streak. He entered 6-1 with a 2.06 ERA and three complete games in his previous nine starts, and 4-0 with a 1.68 ERA in his past four road starts.
Yet he walked a season-high seven batters against Seattle, with two scoring. It was one walk short of his career high.
Santana went 6 2/3 innings, his shortest outing since lasting 6 1/3 innings July 16, while allowing four hits and three runs. He struck out five.
"Obviously, Ervin was not in sync tonight," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He battled. He got some double-play balls. He had a 4-0 lead, then walks the bottom of the order in the third and those guys took advantage of it and that helped them get back in the game. But as the game went on, his breaking ball was better, he had better command. He held up."
Jordan Walden worked the ninth for his 27th save in 36 opportunities. In six appearances against Seattle this season, Walden has four saves and two wins.
Angels ace Jered Weaver will not make his scheduled start Friday against Minnesota. There was a death in his family and he will attend the funeral in Oregon. He is expected to start Saturday.
The team did not announce a replacement. One option is right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who was at Triple-A Salt Lake.
With one out, Dustin Ackley drilled a single up the middle, scoring Robinson and Suzuki to cut it to 4-3. But the Angels held on to earn a four-game split.
The Angels did their damage early, putting immediate pressure on Charlie Furbush (3-7) in the first inning.
Peter Bourjos walked and, with one out, Hunter launched a 1-2 pitch through the gusty wind and into the left-field bullpen for his 19th home run.
"It was a slider he was trying to throw hard," Hunter said. "I just tried to stay back and see the ball. I had two strikes so I was short and tried to capitalize. It was a good pitch, though, it was down."
The Angels have hit at least one home run in 21 of their past 23 games, 34 overall in that span.
"I got a little out of whack in the first inning, but tried to do the best I could the rest of the game," said Furbush, who came to Seattle from Detroit in a July 30 trade.
His only other costly mistake was a home run by Kendrick in the third, his 15th.
Kendrick has six home runs in his past 11 games, and his 15 this season are five more than his previous career high.
"I'm just getting mistakes to hit," Kendrick said. "I'm not trying to change anything. The ball is carrying a little farther this year, I guess. I can't tell you I'm going up there trying to swing a little harder. I haven't really changed my approach."
Furbush went six innings, his second-longest stint in eight starts. He gave up four runs and four hits, walked three and struck out five.
In his previous two starts, both losses, Furbush had given up nine runs in a combined eight innings.
The Angels added four players from Triple-A Salt Lake: Romine, LHP Horacio Ramirez, 1B Efren Navarro and OF Jeremy Moore. Scioscia said Ramirez can be effective against left-handed hitters, Romine provides versatility, Navarro is a solid defender and Moore is raw talent. "We have an opportunity for them now and we have a need for them now," he said. Navarro was a 50th-round draft choice in 2007. ... The Mariners added three players when rosters expanded: C Chris Gimenez, RHP Shawn Kelley and LHP Cesar Jimenez. ... To make room on the 40-man roster, Seattle released INF Matt Tuiasosopo. He was a third-round draft choice in 2004, the team's first pick that year. "There's been so much opportunity here this year," manager Eric Wedge said, "but for whatever reason he wasn't able to get himself going." With Tuiasosopo's departure, all five No. 1 draft choices under previous GM Bill Bavasi (2004-09) are no longer with the organization. ... LHP Jason Vargas (7-12, 4.52) opens the Mariners' six-game road trip in Oakland on Friday. He got rocked for 10 hits and nine runs over 5 2/3 innings in his last start against the Chicago White Sox. Vargas is 1-6 with a 7.13 ERA in his past 10 starts.