SEATTLE – Mike Trout provided the capper to a miserable night for the Seattle Mariners.
Trout looped a three-run double just inside the left-field line with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels cooled off the Mariners with a 6-3 victory on Thursday night.
Trout’s bases-clearing hit off Seattle closer Edwin Diaz (2-5) came after the Mariners staged a three-run rally of their own in the eighth inning to tie the game at 3-all. And it all seemed secondary for the Mariners compared to the concern over the health of lefty James Paxton, who left in the seventh inning with a strained pectoral muscle.
Paxton is hopeful it’s a minor injury, but will have an MRI on Friday that should provide the Mariners more clarity how long they could be without their ace in the middle of the playoff chase.
“It hurts. He’s been our guy. He’s been awesome. He really has,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Don’t want to get too far ahead of it but fingers crossed that he doesn’t miss too much time.”
The Angels took advantage of major control problems in the ninth from Diaz, who walked three batters, including Cameron Maybin on a 3-2 pitch to bring Trout to the plate. The reigning MVP pulled a 1-1 breaking ball and just kept it fair and clearing the bases.
“There were a couple walks, so I was assuming I’d take a strike,” Trout said. “I was looking for a pitch to hit. But I was kind of undecided on the first pitch, so I just wanted to see one. After that, I saw the slide pop up and hit a double.”
The surging Mariners were coming off a 6-3 road trip to move into the second wild-card spot in the American League and used the long ball to rally in the eighth inning after getting nothing going against Angels starter Tyler Skaggs. Making his second start since coming off the disabled list, Skaggs pitched shutout ball into the seven, allowing five hits and striking out five.
But the Mariners got to reliever Bud Norris in the eighth. Jean Segura hit his seventh home run of the season and the duo of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz continued to come through for the Mariners. Cano drove a two-out double off Norris (2-5) and Cruz followed with his 27th homer of the season and fifth in the past five games to pull Seattle even.
That was it for the Mariners and after Trout came through Cam Bedrosian pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
“He’s the best player in the game. You wouldn’t want anybody else up,” Skaggs said of Trout. “He put the team on his back. Very simple. It’s a pleasure playing with him.”
C.J. Cron hit a solo homer in the second inning and Andrelton Simmons added a two-run shot in the fourth, both off of Paxton. It was the first homers allowed by Paxton since June 27 against Philadelphia and the first time he allowed multiple homers in a game since June 1, 2016.
Paxton had tied a franchise record by winning his previous seven starts dating to July 2, when he beat the Angels. But he was not sharp in his attempt at No. 8 and could be headed to the disabled list for the second time this season.
“I don’t think it’s anything too serious, but obviously don’t want to miss time right now,” Paxton said. “Hopefully it’s nothing big.”
The latest injury to Paxton only adds to a season of setbacks among Seattle’s starting rotation. Drew Smyly never pitched for the Mariners this season. Hisashi Iwakuma has been out since early May with shoulder troubles, Felix Hernandez is in his second stint on the disabled list and Paxton could be joining him.
Paxton was pulled in the middle of an at-bat to Kole Calhoun. He appeared bothered on a 2-2 fastball, but threw two more pitches before he was lifted. Paxton threw 107 pitches.
Mariners: OF Mitch Haniger took batting practice and did fielding drills in the outfield as he continues to recover from getting hit in the face late last month. Haniger could be sent out on a rehab assignment in the coming days. … Iwakuma is expected to throw an extended bullpen session on Friday.
Marco Gonzales (0-0) makes his second start since being called up from Triple-A Tacoma. Gonzales lasted four innings and gave up five runs in his first start with Seattle.
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