Marco Gonzales retired 21 consecutive Angels while throwing a four-hitter, and Jose Marmolejos hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning of the Seattle Mariners’ 2-1 victory over Los Angeles on Monday.
Gonzales (4-2) had eight strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter until the ninth inning of his second career complete game. The left-hander said he felt an uncommon determination after a tumultuous week in which the Mariners elected to skip a game in San Diego to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Several of Gonzales’ teammates subsequently left the team in trades, including his good friend and catcher, Austin Nola.
“I wasn’t expecting to be as emotional as I was today, but it’s just one of those things where it seems to all pile up at once,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales’ feelings hadn’t changed after he retired his 21st straight batter.
“When I walked off the field in the eighth, I looked to Skip and I said, ‘This is my game,’” Gonzales said of his exchange with manager Scott Servais. “I knew it from the first inning. I knew it from the first pitch. It was just kind of one of those things where I just want to get home. I want to be back in Seattle. A lot of emotions.”
After Justin Upton’s leadoff homer in the second inning, Gonzales retired every batter he faced until pinch-hitter Shohei Ohtani’s leadoff single in the ninth.
Andrelton Simmons followed Ohtani with another single, but Mike Trout hit a line drive right at third baseman Kyle Seager, who doubled up Ohtani off second base.
“I don’t think I’ve ever snapped my neck around so fast to see if Seager was there to catch it,” Gonzales said.
Anthony Rendon then drew Gonzales’ first walk of the day on four pitches, but Albert Pujols popped out meekly to shortstop to finish Gonzales’ third victory over the Angels already this season.
Marmolejos and Jake Fraley had two hits apiece as the Mariners rallied to split a four-game series at the Big A after losing the first two.
“When he goes out and just takes control of a game like that, it says more than anything you can say,” Servais said of Gonzales. “He is some kind of competitor. … This road trip has been a very emotional trip, from what we went through in San Diego with the postponement of the game there, to the trades we’ve had, losing good friends and guys you’re really close to.”
Gonzales, the former Gonzaga ace, worked quickly and decisively while throwing 102 pitches in a dominating performance that underlined his ace status for Seattle – particularly when he’s facing the Angels, who have no answers for left-handers of his caliber.
“From the side, (Gonzales’ stuff) doesn’t look overly difficult, but he’s got great command and a great competitive nature,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said.
Both of these AL West clubs are outside the playoff picture, which turned them into sellers at Monday’s trade deadline. Seattle made multiple big moves that led to the departures of Nola, closer Taylor Williams and relievers Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla, while the Angels dealt big leaguers Tommy La Stella, Brian Goodwin and Jason Castro.
The AL-worst Angels dropped the last two games of the series by 2-1 scores. Los Angeles largely had outstanding pitching in this four-game series after struggling on the mound throughout August.
“We pitched better, and that’s what I’ve been seeking,” Maddon said. “I thought our pitchers did a better job in both games. Gonzales has given us problems in the past. We pitched well enough to beat good pitching. We just did not get it done offensively.”
Simmons singled to lead off the first inning, but it was actually a popup that got lost in the sun. Upton then connected in the second inning for a homer that pushed him farther out of his horrific August slump, but the Angels didn’t get another base runner until Ohtani’s broken-bat single in the ninth.
Seattle tied it in the third when Fraley tripled to right and scored on a single by catcher Joseph Odom.
Marmolejos put the Mariners ahead with his third homer in five days, connecting off reliever Matt Andriese (1-2) after Jaime Barria pitched five-hit ball into the fifth inning of a solid spot start for the Angels.
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