Pujols puts M's away after clubs swap rallies

May 15th, 2016

SEATTLE -- Albert Pujols ripped a three-run homer in the top of the ninth as the Angels beat Mariners closer Steve Cishek for a second straight night with a roller-coaster, 9-7, win on Saturday night at Safeco Field.

Trailing by a run in the top of the ninth, Pujols turned on a 1-1 sinker and sent it soaring well out to left field for the Angels' second straight ninth-inning rally.

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"I got an opportunity right there, and I just thank God I was able to come through," Pujols said. "This team -- we fight, man. We don't give up. Even though we haven't been playing the way we want over the last month or so, you have a lot of guys here who fight and give everything they can and leave it out on the field."

The Mariners had scored five runs in the eighth to grab the lead after Johnny Giavotella, Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout homered in the seventh in the Halos' own five-run frame.

Newly acquired right-hander Jhoulys Chacin pitched seven innings of two-run ball before the Angels' bullpen gave up the lead when Mariners first baseman Adam Lind capped a four-RBI night with a two-run double, and backup catcher Steve Clevenger pushed Seattle into a 7-6 lead with a run-scoring single.

The Angels (15-21) had lost six straight before the back-to-back comeback wins against Cishek, who had saved 11 of 12 opportunities before this weekend. The Mariners (21-15) saw their lead in the American League West cut to a half-game over Texas and lost a series for the first time since the second week of the season.

"Back-to-back nights," said a chagrined Cishek. "The first night, all right, you messed one up. But this one, after a comeback like that, really stung. When I went into that ballgame there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was going to shut that door right there. I just got too aggressive with a slider. One pitch, I didn't get my hand on top of the ball, and I paid for it. The team paid for it."


King Albert: Pujols' game-winning home run -- which came after Calhoun took a pitch to his right foot and Trout singled -- was his 18th go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later, the fourth-most in the Majors since 2000. Jason Giambi, Adam Dunn and David Ortiz all have 19. Pujols' shot gave him eight home runs on the year and 568 for his career -- one away from Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on the all-time list.

"I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit, make sure it's up and just try to elevate it and stay away from the ground," Pujols said. "Against a sinkerballer, that's the last thing that you want to do -- hit a ground-ball double play, which I've hit quite a bit, too. I got a good pitch to hit and I elevated it." More >

Lind checks in: The Mariners have been patiently waiting for their new first baseman to begin living up to his history as one of the game's better hitters against right-handers, and the 32-year-old finally delivered with his line shot over the center-field fence in the second on an 0-1 changeup from Chacin, then followed with his game-tying double in the eighth in a 2-for-4 night. His four RBIs put his season total at nine. Lind's second homer of the year was projected at 402 feet by Statcast™, and he needed all of that to just elude the glove of a leaping Trout at the wall.

"That would have been par for the course if he did," Lind said. "You never know. Sometimes those guys act like they don't catch it and then they pull it out. So you don't want to get too happy until you know for sure." More >

"That would have been par for the course if he did," Lind said. "You never know. Sometimes those guys act like they don't catch it and then they pull it out. So you don't want to get too happy until you know for sure." More >

Coming up big: Chacin became only the second Angels starting pitcher since April 26 to complete six innings and the third to complete seven innings all year, giving the bullpen -- a unit that absorbed a Major League-leading 54 1/3 innings over the last 14 games -- a little lighter workload. Chacin had only 90 pitches when he completed the seventh, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia took him out and watched his relievers give up five runs in the eighth. Chacin's season high in pitches is only 91, likely a product of the shoulder woes he had over the last two seasons.

"I think he let his stuff play," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Chacin. "I think he did a good job of using all his pitches, I think he pitched on both sides of the plate, had good run and sink on his fastball, had a lot of ground balls. He pitched a strong game." More >

Bobble-heading: The only Mariner who made much of a dent on Chacin -- aside from Lind's homer -- was third baseman Kyle Seager, who celebrated his bobblehead night with three of Seattle's five hits off the Angels starter. Seager went 3-for-4 with a double as he continues a recent tear that has seen him hit 24-for-60 (.400) with eight doubles, two triples and three homers in his last 16 games to hoist his average from .133 to .252.

"Sometimes the bobblehead night doesn't work out so well for yourself, but Kyle has really been swinging the bat great the last few weeks," said Mariners skipper Scott Servais. "It was a really, really good night for him."


"It's awesome. That's why you play, right? It's fun. Everybody loves the cheers and stuff, but sometimes that silence is even better." -- Angels reliever Joe Smith, on Pujols silencing the crowd

"We didn't get the big outs when we needed them from our 'pen tonight. But what a comeback. It says a lot about our team. The kind of effort we threw out there tonight was awesome to see. We just didn't quite seal the deal." -- Servais, on his team's fight


The Angels' seventh marked the first time they had homered three times in one frame since May 30, 2015, when Matt Joyce, Carlos Perez and Pujols all went deep. The Angels have scored 26 runs over the last three games, after scoring only eight times in the previous five games.


The Mariners' first out of the ninth inning was a product of an overturned call. Mariners leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki hit a slow roller to the left side that third baseman Yunel Escobar picked up and quickly fired to first. First-base umpire Mark Ripperger initially deemed Aoki safe, but replay showed that C.J. Cron caught the ball before Aoki's foot hit the bag. The Angels are 3-for-9 in challenges this season.


Angels:Hector Santiago takes the ball for the series finale from Safeco Field. The 28-year-old left-hander has a 6.46 ERA, with seven strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings, over his last three starts, while experiencing a gradual drop in velocity.

Mariners: Fresh off his franchise-record 146th victory, Felix Hernandez closes out the homestand in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT game. The Mariners ace is 14-15 with a 3.31 ERA in 47 starts against the Angels.

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