Wild Card-hungry Mariners win 6th straight

Wild Card-hungry Mariners win 6th straight

ANAHEIM -- A Mariners team that seemed on the verge of elimination from the postseason chase a week ago continued climbing back into the hunt on Monday night with its sixth straight win, an 8-1 victory over the Angels in the opener of a three-game set at Angel Stadium.

Left-hander Ariel Miranda threw six scoreless innings while allowing just three hits in his best start since coming to Seattle in a July 31 trade with the Orioles. The 27-year-old Cuban is 4-1 with a 4.10 ERA after winning his third straight start.

The Mariners pulled within 2 1/2 games of the second American League WIld Card spot at 76-68 with 18 games remaining, as they equaled their longest winning streak of the year. The Angels lost for the fifth time in their past six games, dropping to 63-80.

"We have a very confident crew right now," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "They believe we can win every night. Our offense is clicking, we're putting runs up and our pitching has done a very good job. We think we're playing our best ball here when it matters the most, and hopefully we can continue."

Robinson Cano hit his 33rd home run of the season, rookie right fielder Ben Gamel hit the first of his career and Leonys Martin went 4-for-4 with three doubles and scored twice for Seattle. Martin's third double led off a four-run seventh that saw the Mariners take advantage of a hit batter, a bunt single, a balk and a throwing error to open a 6-0 lead.

"We are in position now where we have to play every single game like a playoff game," said Martin. "This is when the season is going to be hard. It's a fight with at least five teams. We're playing the game the right way and fighting every day, every pitch."

Gamel's first career homer

Ricky Nolasco gave up four runs on six hits in six-plus innings for the Angels as he fell to 1-6 with a 4.94 ERA since being acquired from the Twins on Aug. 1.

"I feel good, obviously the record doesn't look very good, but I'm not looking at that. I'm just kind of trying to give my team a chance to win and eat as many innings as I can every start and try to find a way to battle," said Nolasco, who has worked five or more innings in 27 of his 29 starts this season. "I feel good the way I'm throwing the ball. I feel strong." 

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
How high Cano go? Cano launched his career-high-tying 33rd home run in the third inning with a solo blast off Nolasco into the short right-field porch down the line with a high arching shot on a 90-mph fastball to give Seattle a 2-0 lead. It was the 11th time Cano has homered on the first pitch of an at-bat. Cano also hit 33 in 2012 while with the Yankees, and he has 18 games to exceed that mark. The 33-year-old is just two shy of the 35 home runs he totaled in his first two seasons combined in Seattle.

"It means something to tie my career [best], but it means more that we won the game and you're able to celebrate," Cano said. "To come through in that situation, this is the time where, as a hitter, you want to step it up and help the team win."

Cano's towering solo homer

Pennington filling in: Cliff Pennington, a late replacement for regular shortstop Andrelton Simmons, drove in the only run of the game for the Angels with a single to left to score C.J. Cron with one out in the seventh. Simmons was scratched two hours before first pitch, the result of a bruised right hand.

Pennington's RBI single to right

Not this time: Mike Trout has troubled Mariners pitching this season and had a chance to do damage again in the third when he came to the plate with runners on first and third and two out. But Miranda got Trout to ground to short, with Ketel Marte throwing to second for the force. That was the only time the Angels advanced a runner past second against Miranda.

"That was a really outstanding outing by Miranda," Servais said. "He really commanded the fastball and was very aggressive with it. He got in good counts and then got the changeup working and got some good outs with that against a good right-handed-hitting lineup."

Miranda pitches out of trouble

Trout keeps streak alive: Trout did, however, go 1-for-4 to extend his streak of reaching base to 28 games. It's the second-longest active streak in the AL, behind Boston's Mookie Betts (29).

Trout's nice running grab

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Martin tied a Mariners record with his three doubles in one game. He's the 24th Seattle player to rack up the triple-double and first since Kyle Seager did it at Cleveland on Aug. 24, 2011.

QUOTABLE
"No words can describe it. It was awesome." -- Gamel, on the feeling he had as he ran around the bases on his first career homer, a two-run shot in the eighth

WHAT'S NEXT
Mariners: Taijuan Walker (5-10, 4.64 ERA) starts Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. PT rematch at Angel Stadium. Walker lasted just two-thirds of an inning while giving up three home runs and six runs on Sept. 3 against the Angels, but the 24-year-old right-hander bounced back in his last start to beat the Rangers, 6-3, for his first win in more than two months.

Angels: Alex Meyer makes his Angel Stadium debut Tuesday against the Mariners in his second start with the Halos. Acquired from the Twins at the Trade Deadline, Meyer went 3 1/3 innings in his club debut on Wednesday in Oakland. Meyer struck out five and allowed one run on one hit, but he walked four and was removed after 68 pitches. The rookie could be stretched out to 75 pitches this time.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

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

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Angels on Monday.

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