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Reliever Tony Zych lets Angels turn tables on Mariners

Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart watches as the Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano rounds the bases after his two-run home run during a spring training game on Saturday in Peoria, Ariz. (Kevin Sullivan / Associated Press)
Bob Dutton Tacoma News Tribune

PEORIA, Ariz. — It was Rey Navarro whose RBI double in the eighth inning broke a tie Saturday and lifted the Los Angeles Angels to a 9-7 victory over the Mariners at Peoria Stadium.

But the game turned an inning earlier when reliever Tony Zych couldn’t protect a two-run lead when summoned to replace Jonathan Aro with one out and the bases loaded.

Zych surrendered two-run doubles to Nick Buss and Sherman Johnson before ending the inning. The Angels led 7-5. And while the Mariners pulled even later in the inning, momentum had turned.

“We brought him in a tough spot there,” manager Scott Servais said, “but that’s what he’s going to have to do during the season. He left a ball in the middle of the plate.

“I thought he was going to get out of it, but he gave up a double. Then a strikeout and a ball off the end of the bat. But he’ll bounce back. Tony’s got good stuff. We believe in him. He just didn’t get it done today.”

Zych might not have been needed had shortstop Chris Taylor not booted a potential inning-ending grounder Saturday earlier in the seventh.

For the Mariners, there was much to like earlier in the game. They jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning against lefty Nate Smith after Ketel Marte led off with a double past third.

Marte scored on Kyle Seager’s single to left before Robinson Cano crushed a homer to right.

Los Angeles cut the lead to 3-2 on Daniel Nava’s two-run double in the fourth inning against lefty Vidal Nuno, but the Mariners got one run back later in the inning on Franklin Gutierrez’s homer against Cam Bedrosian.

The Mariners pushed out to a 5-2 lead in the fifth after Dan Robertson led off with a double. He went to third on Marte’s sacrifice and scored on Seager’s sharp RBI single.

The game turned the Angels’ way after both clubs began substituting.

“It’s going to be competitive all year with the teams in our division,” Servais said. “We talked about that from day one. It doesn’t matter if it’s the big-league club, the Triple-A club or whoever is out there.”

Play of the game: Shortstop Chris Taylor’s error on a potential inning-ending double play in the seventh inning led to three unearned runs.

Plus: Robinson Cano’s two-run homer in the first inning cleared the bullpen beyond the right-field wall…Veteran reliever Joel Peralta has his second scoreless one-inning outing…Kyle Seager went 2-for-3, including a scalding RBI single in the fifth inning off the glove of first baseman Jefry Marte…Luis Sardinas had a single in two at-bats and is 5-for-9.

Minus: Lefty Vidal Nuno gave up two runs on three hits and one walk in his two innings…Shawn O’Malley struck out with runners at second and third with one out in the eighth inning when the Mariners trailed by one run…Shortstop Ketel Marte fumble a relay from center fielder Boog Powell, which ended any chance for a play at the plate in the fourth inning. Carlos Perez scored from first on Daniel Nava’s two-run double.

Quotable: Mariners left-hander Wade Miley lived up to his reputation by working briskly through two scoreless innings: “Kind of since college. It’s kind of the motto. Get it and go. It’s worked for me, and I know the defense enjoys it. Whatever works.”

Short hops: Luis Sardinas played the final inning in center field…First baseman Dae-Ho Lee made his spring debut and had a single in his only at-bat…The Angels scratched right-hander Andrew Heaney as their starter due to an illness…Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson attended the game. On July 24, outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. will become the first player inducted into the Hall primarily for his accomplishments as a Mariner.

Up next: The Mariners make the 11-mile trip down Bell Road to play Texas, another American League West rival, at 12:05 p.m. Pacific time Sunday in Surprise.

Right-handers Hisashi Iwakuma and Joaquin Benoit are scheduled to make their spring debuts. Iwakuma is slotted for a two-inning start. Justin De Fratus, Steve Cishek and Casey Coleman are also in line to pitch.

The Rangers list right-hander Nick Tepesch, a non-roster player, as their starter instead of lefty Martin Perez, who will pitch instead in a “B” game. Also scheduled: Phil Klein, Myles Jaye, Sam Freeman and Scott Williams.