ANAHEIM, Calif. – Just when Mariners lefty Wade Miley appeared headed for another quick and disappointing exit Sunday, the tumblers finally clicked into place.
Miley rebounded from a three-run first inning by pitching into the eighth with little further damage before the bullpen closed out a 9-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium.
“I just tried to stop thinking a little bit,” he said. “Just try to get it going. … I was finally able to establish something, get in a rhythm and go.”
The victory pulled the Mariners back to .500 at 9-9 and completed a 6-3 road trip that included 2-1 series victories at New York and Cleveland in addition to Anaheim.
“You go on the road, and you win every series,” third baseman Kyle Seager said, “that’s pretty good. We played some pretty good teams as well. It was definitely a pretty good road trip.
“Everybody is looking forward to getting home.”
Seager’s three-run homer in a four-run first inning provided Miley (1-2) with a quick cushion in the first inning, but Miley nearly gave it all back in the bottom of the inning.
The Mariners regained control by knocking out L.A. starter Matt Shoemaker (1-3) in a three-run fourth inning, which included a two-run homer from Leonys Martin.
By then Miley was rolling. He permitted just two hits after the first inning before yielding a one-out homer to Yunel Escobar in the eighth. Nick Vincent replaced Miley at that point and got the final five outs.
Seth Smith’s two-run homer in the ninth meant the Mariners didn’t need closer Steve Cishek, who had been warming up. Vincent got his second career save – his first since June 12, 2013 while pitching for San Diego.
“It was fun,” manager Scott Servais said. “We played really good baseball (on this road trip). This is kind of what we envisioned coming out of camp.”
Nori Aoki opened the game with a walk and went to third on Smith’s single. Robinson Cano flied out, but Nelson Cruz grounded an RBI single to short, and Smith went to third on a throwing error by Andrelton Simmons.
Shoemaker struck out Adam Lind, but Seager rocked a 2-0 pitch into the right-field seats for a three-run homer.
“I felt I put much better swings on the ball,” said Seager, who took extra pre-game work with hitting coach Edgar Martinez in an effort to break out from his .127 average.
“I was able to control my body a lot better today. I got a lot of work in with Edgar. We saw some stuff on film. I was able to clean everything up a little bit.”
Up four runs, Miley responded by letting the Angels back into the game despite retiring the first two batters in the bottom of the inning.
Mike Trout pulled a two-out single through the left side, and Albert Pujols followed by breaking a career-worst 0-for-26 drought with a 448-foot bomb to left for a two-run homer.
Miley then walked Kole Calhoun, who scored on Geovany Soto’s line-drive double into the right-center gap. With the lead down to one, Miley retired Simmons on a grounder to short.
“I wasn’t thinking, ‘Here we go again,’ by any means,” said Miley who entered with a 8.04 ERA. “I was just like, ‘I’ve got to execute pitches.’ When I’ve got a guy with two strikes, I’ve got to make a better pitch.
“I can’t throw a fastball down the middle and not expect a guy like Pujols to make you pay. I was getting frustrated with myself for just not executing.”
The Mariners pushed the lead back to four runs in the fourth inning.
“We played (on this road trip) like we should have been playing,” Seager said. “I think there’s still more in the tank. Today, we did it offensively, but this is a team that should be able to win a lot of different ways.”
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