ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)Mike Trout homered, Justin Upton delivered the tiebreaking RBI single in the sixth inning and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 Friday night to win back-to-back games for only the second time all season.
Albert Pujols had an RBI double to tie George Brett for the sixth-most doubles in major league history in the opener of 10 consecutive home games for the Angels. Trout homered in the eighth, while Upton went 3 for 4 in the first multi-hit game of the veteran Halos slugger’s rough season.
”We know we have to win ballgames, and today is a good start,” Upton said. ”The only thing we can do at this point is come in and play each game the way we know how and see what happens.”
The Angels produced just enough offense for Andrew Heaney (2-2), who rebounded from three straight disappointing starts with 7 2/3 innings of four-hit, one-run ball in his longest and best outing of the season.
Kyle Seager hit a leadoff double off Ty Buttrey in the ninth and scored on Tim Lopes’ single to right, but Jose Marmolejos unwisely made the second out of the inning when Angels rookie Jo Adell and relay man Andrelton Simmons caught him trying to go from first to third on the hit.
”If we don’t make that play, it has a chance to be an entirely different ballgame,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. ”I want the little things to be a big part of our culture as we move this thing forward.”
Buttrey then got Shed Long Jr. on a flyout to secure his fourth save for the disappointing Angels, who improved to 11-22 to climb out of last place in the American League.
Nick Margevicius (1-2) yielded seven hits over six innings in another strong start for the Mariners. Sam Haggerty drove in the game’s first run with a single in the sixth, but Seattle lost for only the second time in seven games.
Both starters cruised through the first five innings, with Heaney allowing only two hits and Margevicius giving up five without a run.
Seattle finally broke through when J.P. Crawford led off the sixth with a double and scored on a single by Haggerty, who had failed to get down a bunt on his first two pitches.
Pujols evened it with two outs in the sixth, driving in Shohei Ohtani with a double down the left field line. The double was Pujols’ 665th, pulling him even with Brett and two behind Craig Biggio in fifth place in baseball history.
Upton then drove in Pujols with a single, his third hit of the night. The game was a much-needed rebound from Upton, whose batting average had dipped below .100 while he managed just two previous hits in all of August.
Trout hit a solo homer leading off the eighth, his first since Aug. 17. The three-time AL MVP has 11 homers this season, and his 45 homers over his career against Seattle are his most against any opponent.
The Angels traded infielder Tommy La Stella to Oakland for infielder Franklin Barreto during the game. La Stella was batting .273 while playing 15 games at second base and 10 at first base for the Halos, but the 2019 All-Star can be a free agent this winter.
La Stella entered the Angels’ dugout in the early innings and hugged most of his teammates and coaches.
”With the situation we’re in here, it was the right thing to do, but we’re going to miss him,” said Maddon, his manager with the Cubs and the Angels. ”He’s a big part of any clubhouse. He’s the kind of guy that other guys are drawn toward.”
During the national anthem, both teams’ Black players gathered in center field with Trout, Anthony Rendon and David Fletcher. The players all linked arms for the song.
Seattle’s Dee Gordon spoke emotionally before the game about the events of the week.
”It’s time for the world open their eyes and see that we’re tired,” he said. ”We’re tired of our people getting killed. Tired of being nervous that we’re next, our family members will be next. We’re just tired.”
The Angels had the previous two days off, preventing them from participating in any of the previous days’ strikes for social justice. Upton said the players came up with the linked arms as a way to express solidarity.
”I thought it was absolutely perfect,” Maddon said.
Mariners: Evan White had an MRI on his sore shoulder, but manager Scott Servais said the rookie first baseman was feeling better. The results of the MRI hadn’t been determined before the series opener against the Angels, but Servais was hopeful White could get some work before Saturday’s game and possibly rejoin the lineup soon. ”He’s less worried about it, so still moving in the right direction there,” Servais said.
Angels: They sent infielder Luis Rengifo and left-hander Patrick Sandoval to their alternate training site. Rengifo is batting just .157 over 18 games.
Dylan Bundy (3-2, 2.58 ERA) takes the mound in the seventh start of his impressive season for the Angels, including three against Seattle. The Mariners counter with Justus Sheffield (2-2, 3.51 ERA), who lost at Angel Stadium in late July.
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