Mike 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 Seattle 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 score at 3-3.
Diaz had major control problems in the ninth, walking 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 it barely landed fair.
“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. Along with the ninth-inning problems, the Mariners saw ace James Paxton leave in the seventh inning because of a strained left pectoral muscle.
Seattle used the long ball to rally in the eighth inning. Jean Segura hit his seventh home run of the season against Angels reliever Bud Norris, and the duo of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz continued to come through for the Mariners.
Cano drove a two-out double into the left-center field gap 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.”
The Angels got a brilliant starting performance from Tyler Skaggs, who pitched shutout ball into the seventh. Skaggs gave up five hits and struck out five in his second start since coming off the disabled list.
C.J. Cron hit a solo homer in the second inning and Andrelton Simmons added a two-run shot in the fourth, both surrendered by 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.”