SEATTLE — Corey Hart hit a three-run homer and a solo shot, sending the Seattle Mariners to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in their home opener Tuesday night.
Seattle became the final major league team to open at home and continued its early success against the Angels. After fans at Safeco Field gave Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll and other members of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks a raucous ovation, the Mariners gave the sold-out crowd some winning baseball to cheer for.
Seattle improved to 4-0 against the Angels this season. Seattle scored four times with two outs in the third inning, capped by Hart’s homer off starter Hector Santiago (0-2). Hart added his solo drive in the seventh.
Seattle starter James Paxton (2-0) gave up two first-inning homers, then retired 14 straight. He left in the sixth inning after straining a muscle on the left side of his back.
Yoervis Medina replaced Paxton and got out of the sixth. Danny Farquhar and Tom Wilhelmsen worked the seventh and eighth, and Fernando Rodney earned his second save despite walking his first two batters in the ninth.
Robinson Cano’s home debut in Seattle was mostly uneventful. Cano went 0 for 3 and scored a run. Hart, another offseason acquisition, made plenty of noise.
Hart had the 15th multihomer game of his career and first since Sept. 29, 2012, before knee surgery sidelined him for the 2013 season with Milwaukee. Seattle’s rally in the third started when Santiago struck out Brad Miller but the ball bounced away from catcher Chris Iannetta. Miller reached first and Santiago pitched around Cano, walking him on four pitches.
Justin Smoak lined a two-strike single to score Miller, and Hart made Santiago pay for missing with an 0-2 pitch. It was the third time in his career Hart has homered on an 0-2 pitch.
His homer in the seventh was a line drive to center off reliever Fernando Salas.
Albert Pujols hit his first homer of the season in the first off Paxton, a two-run shot. Pujols became the second active player with 1,500 career RBIs.
David Freese followed with a homer to center, but the Angels did very little otherwise at the plate. Kole Calhoun’s single in the sixth was their only hit after the first.
Paxton quickly settled down after the first inning. He struck out the side in the fourth and didn’t walk a batter in five-plus innings. But his injury could add to woes in a Seattle rotation that’s currently without starters Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker.
Pujols became the 52nd player to reach 1,500 RBIs. … Iwakuma is expected to throw his first bullpen session Wednesday as he recovers from a finger injury. … LHP Roenis Elias will make his first start in Seattle for the Mariners on Wednesday against Garrett Richards. Elias threw five strong innings in his debut last week. “It’s going to be a little bit different being at home,” he said through a translator. “Felix (Hernandez) already talked to me and told me to be aggressive and stay ahead with my pitches and leave it out there.”