ANAHEIM -- Hector Santiago provided another solid start and Mike Trout went deep, helping the Angels beat the division-rival Mariners and ace Felix Hernandez, 4-2, in Southern California on Saturday night.
Trailing by a run in the sixth and struggling once again to muster offense, Trout gave his team a lift with a two-run homer to straightaway center field. The ball sailed into the lawn and landed a projected distance of 435 feet away from home, according to Statcast™, good for Trout's team-leading third home run.
"I'm just trying to get a pitch I can hit," Trout said. "Looking fastball, obviously, and I got it."
Santiago limited the Mariners to a Leonys Martin sac fly in the second and a Nelson Cruz solo home run in the sixth, dropping his ERA to 2.70. The 28-year-old left-hander scattered four hits, walked two and struck out seven in six innings, then turned the game over to his bullpen, which kept Seattle scoreless through the last three frames.
Trout helped that cause with his throwing arm, playing an Adam Lind line drive perfectly off the center-field wall and gunning him down at second base in the seventh inning. The Angels then picked up a key insurance run in the eighth on a two-out, opposite-field single by Kole Calhoun.
"It was a good ballgame," said Mariners manager Scott Servais, whose club saw its three-game win streak snapped. "Trout had a big game. We made a mistake and he made us pay for it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Dethroning the King: Trout's sixth-inning home run was merely the continuation of his unfathomable dominance against one of the game's premier pitchers. It was his fifth time going deep against Hernandez, more than he has against any pitcher. Only Mark Teixeira (six) has more home runs vs. King Felix. Trout is batting .368 (25-for-68) against him. More >
The King passes Big Unit: Hernandez wasted no time breaking Randy Johnson's franchise record for strikeouts for the Mariners as he whiffed Rafael Ortega -- the second batter he faced -- in the first inning to give him 2,163 career Ks. Hernandez got Ortega on a foul tip that catcher Chris Iannetta gloved on a 2-2 changeup. Hernandez, whose start was delayed a day by the flu, finished with four strikeouts in his seven-inning stint while allowing five hits and three runs. More >
"It's an honor to be up there, but we lost the game," Hernandez said. "I don't care about the record. We lost the game."
Glove gangster:Andrelton Simmons, widely regarded the best defensive shortstop in the game, turned in a couple of slick plays. With a runner on third and two outs in the first, he ranged well into left-center field to make a nifty, over-the-shoulder catch on Cruz's fly ball. To start the eighth, Simmons ranged deep in the hole to make a backhand play on Norichika Aoki's grounder and quickly got rid of it to throw out the speedy outfielder. More >
"I thought it was a hit, man," Angels setup man Joe Smith said of Simmons' eighth-inning play. "I told him, 'That changed the whole inning.'"
Cruz clubs another: The Mariners DH seems to be warming up as he homered for his second straight game, this one a sixth-inning shot to left off Santiago that gave the Mariners a momentary 2-1 lead before Trout answered with his own launch. Cruz, who finished second in the Majors with 44 homers last year, now has four on the year, along with 11 RBIs. Cruz showed last year that he tends to hit homers in bunches, so keep an eye on the big man.
"Yeah, ups and downs, you know?," Cruz said of his early season. "But it feels better. The more games I play, I feel more comfortable."
"He actually surprised me early in the year with his struggles, man. He surprised you with the hits that he got. Balls weren't blistering off [his bat], but he got the job done. And right now he's turned it back around and he's the old Trouty again." -- Santiago on Trout getting back on track, reaching base in 11 of his last 16 plate appearances to put his slash line at .302/.408/.508
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Albert Pujols went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts and will enter Sunday's game riding a career-long 0-for-26 hitless streak. His previous high was 25 at-bats, done Sept. 12-19 of last season. His batting average is down to .132.
Hernandez has allowed more walks (15) than hits (14) in his 25 innings this season.
MILESTONE MOMENT Ji-Man Choi picked up his first Major League hit in the seventh inning, hitting a clean single to center field against Hernandez, but then promptly got picked off. Choi, a Rule 5 Draft pick, also lined out to left field and drew a walk while starting for the first time in 10 games. He needs to produce on the rare times he sees action. If not, he could be sent back to the Orioles when Daniel Nava comes off the disabled list.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Lefty Wade Miley closes out the nine-game road trip with Sunday's 12:35 p.m. PT start at Angel Stadium. Miley (0-2, 8.04 ERA) lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his last outing at Yankee Stadium when he allowed three runs on nine hits and four walks in 3 2/3 frames. He was 1-0, 0.60 ERA in two starts vs. the Angels last year with Boston.
Angels:Matt Shoemaker takes the ball for the series finale, hoping to build on a couple of solid starts. The 29-year-old right-hander held the A's to one hit in six innings on April 13 and pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball against the White Sox on Tuesday. Shoemaker has a 2.88 ERA in 40 2/3 career innings against the Mariners.