Valbuena doubles, Trout homers lead to Angels past Mariners
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The game meant little, the postseason aspirations of the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners having been vanquished before their final weekend series began Friday night.
No one watching would have thought the game meaningless.
Both teams played their starters and emptied their bullpens before Luis Valbuena’s pinch-hit two-run double in the eighth capped a four-run rally to give the Angels a 6-5 victory that overcame three Seattle home runs.
Mike Trout hit two home runs for the Angels, in the process becoming the fifth player in major league history to collect 1,000 hits and 200 home runs by their age 25 season. He joined Alex Rodriguez, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott and Jimmie Foxx.
Trout turned 26 last month.
”He’s a great player and he’s had our number,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ”You have small windows. You have to attack him and if you miss, he’s going to make you pay.”
Trout has hit more home runs against the Mariners (26) than any other team.
The Mariners got back-to-back home runs from Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager in the fourth against Tyler Skaggs to overcome Trout’s first solo homer, his 200th. They added another run on Robinson Cano’s single in the fifth and Mike Zunino hit a two-run homer in the sixth that gave Seattle a 5-2 lead.
Trout began the Angels’ 47th comeback of the season – matching their 2009 club record – with a homer to lead off the eighth. It was his 33rd of the season and 10th multihomer game.
”I just got some pitches to hit and didn’t miss them,” Trout said.
Albert Pujols doubled off Nick Vincent, and with two outs, C.J. Cron singled to left to score him. When Kole Calhoun singled off the leg of reliever Mark Rzepczynski (2-2), Servais called on closer Edwin Diaz.
Valbuena doubled in the two runs and the Angels had their comeback.
”We fight for 27 outs,” Valbuena said. ”Nobody puts their head down. Just go compete and fight all the time.”
The Angels went to 79-81 with the victory, two games ahead of the Mariners for second in the AL West. If Los Angeles can win the final two games, they can finish 81-81.
”We still want to win every game left,” Skaggs said. ”We don’t want to finish with a losing record.”
Blake Wood (2-0) pitched the eighth for Los Angeles to earn the win, with Blake Parker throwing a scoreless ninth to earn his eighth save.
VALBUENA FINISHING STRONG
He has driven in 13 runs in his last 21 games and 20 in last 30. He has 63 RBIs, setting a career high. And 27 of last 36 hits have gone for extra bases (10 doubles, 17 home runs).
The left-hander missed most of the year with an oblique injury, and despite a so-so season (4.55 ERA), feels he is close to being the pitcher he envisions.
”The oblique was kind of a freak thing,” he said. ”My arm feels great. I’m kind of hitting my stride now, I’m sad the season is ending.”
Mariners: Announced RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (0-2, 4.35 ERA) underwent arthroscopic right shoulder debridement on Wednesday and is expected to be out five months. Iwakuma, 36, last pitched on May 4 before he was shut down after a couple of June rehab appearances. Team has a $10 million option on him for next season it can buy out for $1 million.
Angels: Despite being eliminated from the postseason on Wednesday, manager Mike Scioscia said he intends to play his regulars in this weekend’s final series. Only players rehabbing will take the final three games off.
Mariners: RHP Andrew Moore (1-5, 5.34) is scheduled to make his first career start against the Angels. In his only relief appearance against the Angels on Aug. 11, he allowed four runs, six hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings.
Angels: RHP Ricky Nolasco (5-15, 5.02) will match his career high with his 33rd start. Angels have lost his last four starts.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball