SEATTLE – The last time the Mariners were in Angels Stadium they walked off the field in a stunned malaise, having blown a six-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to lose to the Angels in walkoff fashion April 9. It was a gut punch of a loss and still one of the worst of the season. It also capped a 1-7 road trip to start the season.
On Friday, they made sure there would be no repeat meltdowns, taking an even larger, almost insurmountable lead into the ninth inning and closing out a decisive 10-0 win.
Ariel Miranda gave the Mariners an outstanding start on the mound, and the Seattle offense – which looked somewhat dormant during the now-snapped, four-game losing streak to end the recent homestand – came to life against the Angels and their starter, Parker Bridwell. The Mariners banged out 17 hits and four homers in the game. Of the Mariners’ starting lineup, eight of the nine players registered a hit, with four having multihit games.
“We were due to kind of bust out,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “The last four games had been kind of frustrating for us offensively. It was the quality of the at-bats and even the hard outs that we made. It’s a really good sign. Just a complete win.”
Robinson Cano had three hits, including a three-run homer off Bridwell in the fifth inning to break the game open and later a two-run homer off reliever Yusmeiro Petit in the seventh.
“I love how we came out,” Cano said. “We lost those games and then you see us come back today and everybody was ready. That’s what you really want as a team, not just you as a player.”
Ben Gamel went 4 for 5 with two runs scored and two runs batted in. In June, Gamel collected 42 hits in 107 at-bats for a .393 average.
“It’s nice hitting in this lineup,” he said. “There’s a lot of protection and you can’t really pitch around people. They are coming right at me and I’m getting good pitches to hit.”
Kyle Seager also had four hits and belted his 10th homer of the season in the ninth inning. It was the second straight game with a homer for Seager.
“I’m most excited about Kyle Seager,” Servais said. “He’s not had that kind of night for us all season. He’s had some homers and some good games, but he was staying on a lot of pitches. Really good night in the batter’s box.”
After two lackluster outings in his past three starts, Miranda was brilliant Friday night. With his offspeed pitches working early, he kept the Angels’ hitters off-balance by using a deft mix to go with a fastball that consistently got in on the hands of right-handed hitters. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and allowed just one more over his seven shutout innings, striking out four batters and walking two.
“I was aggressive on the first two pitches trying to get ahead in the count,” Miranda said through interpreter and third-base coach Manny Acta. “I felt I was able to throw that offspeed stuff at any time in the count and attack the zone.”
The use of the offspeed pitches early in the game pleased Servais.
“It was part of the game plan going in, and they were effective,” Servais said. “He landed some for strikes early and got the fastball going. He was really focused tonight. You could tell he was ready to get after it.”
Perhaps Miranda’s biggest inning came in the bottom of the fifth after Cano’s three-run homer had given him a 5-0 lead. A follow-up shutdown inning after such outbursts is usually critical in putting teams away. It didn’t start out well with Andrelton Simmons doubling to right-center to start it off and then advancing to third on a ground ball to second. But Miranda got Danny Espinosa to pop out and Eric Young Jr. to fly out to right to end the frame.
Seattle grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Mike Zunino – the team’s best hitter in June – blasted a solo homer to left field. For Zunino, he wrapped up June with 10 homers and 31 RBI in 24 games. The 31 RBI are the most by any player in baseball this month. Zunino had a chance to tie the franchise record of 33 RBI in a month in the eighth inning. With runners on second and third, his line drive down the third-base line was snared by Yunel Escobar to rob him of that chance.
“I didn’t even know I was near a record,” he said.
Max Povse pitched the final two innings to preserve the Mariners’ seventh shutout of the season, the second-most in baseball. He got some help from backup shortstop Taylor Motter, who made a brilliant backhand and leaping throw to first on Jefry Marte’s ground ball into the hole for the final out with runners on second and third.
“What a play, wow,” Servais said. “To put that much on the throw when you are in the air like that, that’s as good of a play as you are going to see.”
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