SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners seemed determined not to let Angels’ star Mike Trout beat them again with his bat.
But the reigning American League MVP still found a way to get the better of one of the teams the Angels are competing with in the AL wild-card race.
Trout walked three times and scored the go-ahead run from second base on Jean Segura’s error in the top of the ninth inning to give the Angels a 6-5 win over the Mariners on Friday night.
For the second straight night, Trout was the source of some ninth-inning misery for the Mariners.
He had a three-run double in Thursday’s series opener to give the Angels a 6-3 victory. A day later, Trout walked with one out, taking a close 3-2 pitch from James Pazos (3-4). Albert Pujols followed with a single and C.J. Cron chopped a hard grounder that Segura couldn’t handle that bounced far enough into left field for Trout to score the go-ahead run.
“We put up good at-bats, guys walk if they don’t get good pitches and eventually somebody, lately, has been getting the big hits. And it’s everybody really,” Angels’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons said.
The Angels have taken the first two games of the series, each night providing a little extra blow to the Mariners. Seattle saw ace James Paxton leave Thursday’s series opener with a strained pec muscle that has landed him on the disabled list, then the Mariners blew a 5-1 lead on Friday.
Seattle built its lead behind home runs by Nelson Cruz and Mike Zunino, both coming off Angels’ starter Ricky Nolasco. But Seattle’s shaky pitching situation was exposed and the Angels took advantage against the young right-hander Andrew Moore.
Los Angeles scored four times in the seventh inning, most of the damage coming with two outs. Moore gave up a two-out infield single to Cameron Maybin and walked Trout to load the bases. Pujols delivered a two-run single, Cron added an RBI single, and Simmons capped the rally with an RBI double that tied the game at 5-5.
Amplifying Moore’s struggles, Seattle failed to start getting a reliever ready in the bullpen until after Pujols’ hit.
“Where we are at right now pitching-wise is going to be a challenge,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “There’s going to be some nights it works out great, there’s going to be other nights it’s a bit tough.”
Cruz hit his 28th homer of the season leading off the second inning. He added a double in the fourth and his double off the wall in right-center field in the sixth scored Robinson Cano to give Seattle a 4-1 lead and end Nolasco’s night. Cruz later scored on Jarrod Dyson’s two-out single. Nolasco allowed five runs on seven hits over five innings.
But that was it as Eduardo Parades and Keynan Middleton (3-0) shut down the Mariners for three innings. Yusmeiro Petit pitched the ninth for his second save.
“We’ve got to continue to play good baseball regardless of who we’re playing against really,” Simmons said. “But it’s even bigger when it’s somebody that’s fighting for the same thing.”
Nolasco threw a complete-game shutout against the Mariners earlier this year but fell victim to the long ball on Friday. Cruz homered on a 3-0 pitch in the second and Zunino’s shot in the fifth was the 30th home run allowed this season by Nolasco, the most in the American League.
In need of possible arms for the rotation, the Mariners have acquired left-hander Andrew Albers from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for cash considerations on Friday. Albers has pitched entirely in the minors this season. The 31-year-old is 12-3 with a 2.61 ERA pitching for Triple-A Gwinnett this season. He will report to Triple-A Tacoma.
Angels: RHP Andrew Bailey rejoined the club and could be activated off the DL this weekend. Bailey has been on the DL since early April because of shoulder issues.
Mariners: Paxton was placed on the 10-day DL with a left pectoral strain, a major blow to Seattle’s already thin starting rotation. Paxton joins fellow starters Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma on the DL.
Angels: JC Ramirez (10-10) makes his 23rd start of the season. It will be his second appearance and first start against Seattle this year.
Mariners: Erasmo Ramirez (4-4) makes his third start since being traded from Tampa Bay to Seattle. Ramirez lost his last start against Kansas City.