So he simplified his goal.
"The big thing for me was to make sure I can salvage the bullpen. I didn't want them in in the third or fourth inning," said Palmer, who has five wins in five starts after lasting five-plus innings in the Angels' 6-5 victory Tuesday night.
"I was not the same as I've been, so I knew it was going to be a longer night than I wanted it to be," Palmer added. "I wanted to go at least through the fifth so I knew the bullpen was set up right where they needed to be, everyone in the right spots."
Palmer gave up a leadoff double in the sixth then handed it off to the bullpen. All three relievers who followed did their jobs to preserve the victory. Jason Bulger worked two hitless innings. Scot Shields set the side down in the eighth and Brian Fuentes struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his 10th save in 12 opportunities.
"That's how to you draw it up. Sometimes it always doesn't work like that," said Fuentes, now second in the league in saves. "Right from jump street, Bulge came in and threw lights out. Shields hasn't pitched in a while and showed like he hasn't missed a day.
"I just try to do my job. After a team effort like this, all the pressure in the world is just closing the door for your teammates. All I care about is getting those last three outs. I was efficient with my pitches tonight, got ahead of guys. It worked out."
Bobby Abreu had three hits and a pair of RBI as the Angels took advantage of sloppy play by Mariners. Abreu had a first-inning RBI single and sixth-inning, run-scoring double. He also singled and scored in the fifth. Maicer Izturis had a pair of singles and scored three times as the Angels pounded out 14 hits.
Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 615th career home run and Ronny Cedeno had a two-run home run. Felix Hernandez (4-3) lasted only 5 2/3 innings, allowing 11 hits and six runs.
Slumping Mariners slugger Adrian Beltre was back in the lineup one day after manager Don Wakamatsu rested him. The third baseman was hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts. He is now in an 0-for-17 slump.
The Angels stole a season-high five bases and also were thrown out a season-high three times. The Angels' base-running success drew a strong response from Wakamatsu.
"It's a good club and they have talented players, but it's an embarrassment to allow them to steal five bags off us," Wakamatsu said. "You have to be able to control the running game whether it be Philadelphia, Tampa Bay or the Anaheim Angels. These are the little fundamental things that we've talked about that we have to do better."
Wakamatsu, who has watched his team lose 12 of its past 15 games, also was not pleased with Hernandez or the team's defense; it gave away two runs in the fifth. Izturis and Abreu opened with singles and advanced on Torii Hunter's groundout. Izturis then raced home on Hernandez's wild pitch. Kendry Morales walked, then Mike Napoli hit a potential double-play ball to second baseman Jose Lopez, who booted it.
Abreu scored for a 5-4 lead. It was the Mariners' league-leading 34th error this season.
"I've said all along that our team revolves around pitching and defense and we weren't good at either at the start of the game," Wakamatsu said.
The Angels jumped on Hernandez for a pair of first-inning runs. Chone Figgins singled, Izturis walked, then Abreu and Torii Hunter followed with back-to-back RBI singles.
The Mariners regained the lead on home runs by Griffey and Cedeno, but the Angels tied it in the fourth on Howie Kendrick's RBI single.
Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a two-out double in the fourth, scoring Kenji Johjima from second as the Mariners once again took the lead.
Palmer allowed seven hits and five runs in his five-plus innings but the bullpen picked him up.
Angels OF Vladimir Guerrero, who has been on the DL since April 16 with a torn right pectoral muscle, will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday. If he does not have a setback, the plan is to have him rejoin the team Monday in Anaheim. Also joining him at Rancho Cucamonga will be RHP Kelvim Escobar, on the DL all season after right shoulder surgery. He is expected to pitch in the game. Escobar can not come off the DL until at least June 4.