ANAHEIM -- James Paxton hasn't quite been the same since returning from the disabled list in May, but the Mariners left-hander channeled the brilliance of his old form Sunday afternoon.Paxton flirted with a perfect game through 5 1/3 innings, leading Seattle to a 5-3 victory over the Angels to capture
ANAHEIM -- James Paxton hasn't quite been the same since returning from the disabled list in May, but the Mariners left-hander channeled the brilliance of his old form Sunday afternoon.
Paxton flirted with a perfect game through 5 1/3 innings, leading Seattle to a 5-3 victory over the Angels to capture the rubber match of a three-game series at Angel Stadium.
Paxton tossed 6 1/3 innings, relinquishing just one run on two hits and two walks against three strikeouts, en route to picking up his first winning decision since June 6. Paxton retired the first 16 hitters he faced.
Jean Segura went 4-for-5 with RBIs in the third and fifth off Angels starter Jesse Chavez to build an early advantage.
"I knew it was going on. I was aware of it in the fifth and guys were making great plays behind me," Paxton said. "I didn't have my best fastball today, but [catcher Mike Zunino] did a great job mixing pitches and we used the changeup a lot more. That was a big pitch for us today."
Chavez tossed five innings, allowing four hits and two walks, drawing his second straight losing decision. He credited the Mariners for putting together tough at-bats, which piled up the veteran's pitch count early in the contest.
"I was happy with [my performance]," he said. "I just ran out of pitches."
Robinson Cano launched a three-run homer off Angels reliever Keynan Middleton to give Seattle a 5-1 lead in the eighth. The connection proved just enough to outlast the Halos, whose eighth-inning rally fell short despite RBI efforts from a pinch-hitting Nick Franklin and Cameron Maybin.
"Our guys, they got back into it," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Obviously, not much happening against Paxton, but we pitched with him. … We kept battling."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
One-pitch wonder:Kole Calhoun and Jose Pujols drew one-out walks before Yunel Escobar plated Calhoun with an RBI single to draw the Angels within 2-1, chasing Paxton in the seventh. Reliever Steve Cishek assumed the mound to face Andrelton Simmons, and the right-hander only needed one pitch to induce an inning-ending double-play groundout to escape the jam, and preserve Seattle's advantage.
"That was huge," said Paxton. "He came in and kept the game where it was. Then Robby with the three-run homer to put us further ahead. That was all big for us."
Hang-on-time in eighth: Mariners relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Edwin Diaz combined to rescue Nick Vincent after he relinquished four straight singles -- including a pinch-hit RBI single to Franklin and a sacrifice fly to Maybin -- to allow the Angels to draw to within 5-3. Rzepczynski got Calhoun to pop out to earn the second out of the frame before giving way to Diaz, who got Pujols to ground out to end the threat and then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 13th save.
But the key play came from center fielder Guillermo Heredia when he tracked down Maybin's bases-loaded rocket to deep center field for the first out.
"That had to be the play of the game," said Cano. "He really saved us. If that ball goes over his head, you don't know how long that inning is going to last."
"That ties the game and puts us in a go-ahead run in scoring position [situation]," Scioscia said. "I thought, off the bat, I didn't think there was any way he was going to get it."
Angels get Bug-a-Boog'ed: Mariners designated hitter Boog Powell -- whom Seattle called up prior to Sunday's contest to fill in for the sore-kneed Nelson Cruz -- notched key hits to set up both of his club's early scoring opportunities. The southpaw lined a one-out single in the top of the third that moved Heredia to third before Segura plated him with an RBI single. Powell notched another one-out single during his next plate appearance in the fifth before scoring on Segura's double to give the Mariners a 2-0 lead.
"He's been swinging the ball great in Triple-A," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "That's why we called him up, We needed a bat and we plugged him right in there. He's been hitting..450 the last 10 games in Tacoma. Really good at-bats. It's got to be other guys contributing throughout the lineup and that's what we had today."
"Dude made a great play, man. You've got to tip your hat. It's unfortunate, but I've done the same thing to a lot of guys in my career, it's just a part of it." -- Maybin, on Heredia robbing him of a potential game-tying hit during the eighth
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Cano now has six home runs and 20 RBIs over his past 10 games, which has hiked his season totals to 17 and 60. He's moved past Cruz into the Mariners lead in both categories and he's just two back of Yankees rookie Aaron Judge for the AL RBI lead.
UNDER FURTHER REVIEW
Pujols was ruled out after he was unable to beat Segura's throw to first base in the bottom of the eighth in what turned out to be another critical play. With the Angels trailing 5-3, facing two outs with two runners in scoring position, Pujols hit a ground ball to Segura, who mishandled the ball before he secured it and fired it to first, pulling Danny Valencia away from the bag. The Angels challenged the call, however Pujols was confirmed out following a review that lasted 41 seconds.
"Valencia keeping his foot on the bag was a huge play that inning," said Servais.
Mariners: Rookie right-hander Andrew Moore will be recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to start Monday's 7:10 p.m. PT series opener against the Royals at Safeco Field. Moore won his big league debut against the Tigers last month when he allowed three runs over seven innings, then was optioned back to Tacoma to make one start while the Mariners had a pair of off-days this past week.
Angels: The Halos head to Minnesota to open a three-game series against the Twins, part of a six-game road trip before the All-Star break. Right-handed rookie Alex Meyer will take the mound, seeking his first winning decision since June 17. First pitch is scheduled to be thrown at 5:10 p.m. PT.
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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.