Mariners mash past Halos to take series

Mariners mash past Halos to take series

ANAHEIM -- Kyle Seager, Leonys Martin and Seth Smith each homered and the Mariners' offense knocked Angels starter Matt Shoemaker out of the game before he could even record an out in the fourth inning, leading Seattle to a 9-4 victory in Southern California on Sunday afternoon.

The Mariners (9-9) took two of three from the division-rival Angels, who are 8-11 and haven't scored more than four runs in 16 of their first 19 games. Wade Miley, given a four-run lead before he threw his first pitch, gave up three first-inning runs but held the Angels to three baserunners from the start of the second to the end of the seventh.

"Seager came up with a big one today," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He hit the ball well all day. That was a big home run early. Leonys got one and Smitty finished it off. And I thought [Ketel] Marte played a really good game today. He got on base early, made all the plays in the field. It was a good team win."

The Mariners' early lead came thanks to a throwing error from shortstop Andrelton Simmons, an RBI single by Nelson Cruz and a three-run homer from Seager. They tacked on three more in the fourth, on Martin's two-run homer and Smith's run-scoring, double-play groundout.

Cruz's RBI single

The Angels got a two-run homer from Albert Pujols and an RBI double from Geovany Soto in the first. Yunel Escobar then cut their deficit to three with a one-out solo homer in the eighth, prompting Miley's exit, but Smith delivered a two-run homer off Cory Rasmus in the ninth to put the game out of reach.

Smith's two-run homer

"He's tough," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Miley. "A lot of his pitches are similar, but there's enough of a speed variation where he'll cut it in on you. He has a good changeup, works quick, throws strikes. After that first inning, we didn't have as many good looks as we did the first time through the order."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Slump buster: Seager has been struggling this season, but the Mariners third baseman broke out with a three-run bomb in the first inning off Shoemaker to give Seattle a quick, 4-0 lead. The 2014 All-Star came into the game at 3-for-30 on this nine-game road trip and batting just .127, and manager Scott Servais bumped him down a spot to No. 6 in the lineup this weekend. He finished the day 1-for-4 while hitting the ball hard every at-bat, but it was his big blast that got Seattle started on the right foot as they wrapped up a 6-3 road trip.

"I was pretty happy with today," Seager said. "I felt I put much better swings on the ball, was able to control my body a lot better. I got a lot of work in with [hitting coach Edgar Martinez] and [quality assurance coach Chris] Prieto. We saw some stuff on film and were able to clean some things up a little."

The good and the bad: Shoemaker's 2016 season is off to a perplexing start. The 29-year-old right-hander has had two really bad starts and two really good ones in between. He gave up six runs and recorded only nine outs in his debut at Angel Stadium against the Rangers, then combined to give up two runs in 12 1/3 innings in Oakland and Chicago. In his return home, Shoemaker again recorded only nine outs and was charged with seven runs (six earned), on six hits and three walks. His ERA sits at 6.87. More >

"It was one of those really bad days," Shoemaker said. "Pitches were up and I was behind in the count again. There were a lot of hitters' counts. I walked too many guys again. You may be the best pitcher, but if you're pitching in hitter's counts, they're a lot more comfortable."

Flipping the switch: Coming off a rough start in Cleveland where he'd given up nine hits and walked four of the last five hitters he faced in a 3 2/3-inning stinker, Miley got hit again in the first by the Angels as they racked up three quick runs. But after giving up his fourth hit of the afternoon with a one-out single in the second, Miley got a nice 4-6-3 double play to end that frame and then proceeded to breeze through the next five innings on just one hit until giving up a solo homer to Escobar in the eighth as he notched his first win for the Mariners. More >

"They were jumping on his fastball a little bit, the mistake to Pujols," Servais said. "Pujols has been cold lately, but he woke up a little today. Awesome job by Wade to hang in there and make adjustments."

Move over, Reggie: Pujols snapped a career-long 26 at-bat hitless streak with a monster two-run homer in the first inning, a ball that left his bat at 110 mph and landed a projected distance of 448 feet away, according to Statcast™. It went for Pujols' 563rd career home run, tied with Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson for 13th on the all-time list. More >

"I still have five years in my contract," Pujols said. "I don't look at numbers. The day I look back at what I've accomplished in this game is probably the day I retire. Right now I'm just doing whatever I can do to help this team. You can't focus on numbers and what you do. This is a team game. This is not about individual accomplishments."

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mariners improved to 8-4 away from Safeco Field with their fourth straight road series win. The last time Seattle opened a campaign with four road series wins was 2001, when they took the first seven en route to a 116-win season. More >

Martin's two-run blast

TEAMWORK UP THE MIDDLE
In the fourth, Simmons was playing the left-handed-hitting Smith to pull and broke to his left when Smith hit a grounder to the right side. Upon seeing second baseman Johnny Giavotella field the ball, Simmons broke towards second base, caught a flip, stepped on the bag and fired a throw to first off one foot for the 4-6-3 double play.

With a runner on first and none out in the ninth, Simmons and Cliff Pennington, who pinch-hit for Giavotella earlier, confused Martin as he broke towards second on a flyball from Ketel Marte. Martin froze on second, unable to locate the ball as it settled into Mike Trout's glove, prompting him to get doubled off first base.

Tricky Angels turn two

WHAT'S NEXT
Mariners: Taijuan Walker (1-0, 1.50 ERA) faces former Mariner right-hander Doug Fister (1-2, 5.94) in Monday's 7:10 p.m. PT game as Seattle opens a six-game homestand. Walker, 23, has opened the season with three starts of six-plus innings with two or fewer earned runs.

Angels: Garrett Richards (0-3, 3.00 ERA) opposes fellow right-hander Ian Kennedy (2-1, 1.35 ERA) when the Angels host the reigning World Series-champion Royals for a three-game series, starting with a 7:05 p.m. PT first pitch on Monday. Richards has allowed six runs in 13 innings against the Royals the last two years.

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.