SEATTLE -- The Angels scored five unanswered runs over the final three innings to pull out a 6-5 victory over the Mariners on Friday, moving just a half-game out of the No. 2 Wild Card position in the American League with their fourth straight win.An error on Seattle shortstop Jean
SEATTLE -- The Angels scored five unanswered runs over the final three innings to pull out a 6-5 victory over the Mariners on Friday, moving just a half-game out of the No. 2 Wild Card position in the American League with their fourth straight win.
An error on Seattle shortstop Jean Segura on a hard grounder by C.J. Cron with one out in the top of the ninth allowed Michael Trout to score the go-ahead run off reliever James Pazos. Angels relievers Eduardo Paredes, Keynan Middleton and Yusmeiro Petit slammed the door with four innings of scoreless relief.
"That's what we do, especially late in the game," shortstop Andrelton Simmons said of the Angels' 34th comeback win of the season. "We never give in. We make the pitchers earn their outs, and we put up good at-bats. Got the bases loaded, got a couple big hits and we came back. The game is never really over for us. We've done it enough times that we know it, the opposition knows it, and we'll try to keep doing it."
The Angels moved above .500 for the first time since July 1 at 59-58, tied with the Mariners and Rays and right on the heels of the Twins, who now hold the final Wild Card spot at 58-56 after winning six in a row.
Nelson Cruz went 3-for-4 with a home run, double and two RBIs and Mike Zunino hit a two-run homer for Seattle, which has lost the first two games of a seven-game homestand.
• Cruz homers, stays on a tear in August
Jefry Marte gave the Angels an early lead with a solo homer in the second, but that was all the Halos could manage until a four-run eruption in the seventh off rookie Andrew Moore tied the game at 5. Jose Pujols went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and Trout walked three times and scored twice in five plate appearances.
Southpaw Marco Gonzales, making his second start in place of the injured Felix Hernandez, allowed just four hits and one run in 4 1/3 nnings, but was given a quick hook after back-to-back singles in the fifth.
Manager Scott Servais said all the injuries to Seattle's rotation are going to force some interesting decisions as the club tries to patch things together with some inexperienced starters, while he also had three relievers -- Edwin Diaz, Tony Zych and Casey Lawrence -- unavailable and was saving Nick Vincent to close if possible with Diaz down after pitching five of the previous six games.
"That's where we're at with our starting pitching," Servais said. "We're trying to piece together the game. That's the plan. We did it in May and were able to stay afloat with it and that's our best option right now. There'll be a lot of decisions made where you may scratch your head, but there is a plan behind it. Tonight the plan was lined up right, we just didn't get the last out there in the seventh inning."
Angels starter Ricky Nolasco gave up five runs on seven hits in five-plus innings, but wound up with a no-decision. Nolasco, who surrendered a pair of homers on Friday, has now allowed a career-high 30 home runs this season, the most in the Majors.
"A couple mistakes there cost me, pretty much like it has all season," Nolasco said. "No way to explain the homers."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Another moon shot: Zunino has been struggling at the plate since his torrid June, but when the Mariners catcher catches up to one, it can fly a long way. His two-run blast off Nolasco in the fifth was a 450-foot launch, landing well up into the second deck below the Safeco Field sign in left field to give Seattle a 3-1 lead. The 112.2 mph exit velocity was Zunino's hardest-hit homer and the 450-foot distance was his third longest in that span and second-longest this year, trailing only his 463-footer that nearly sailed out of Safeco on June 17. Zunino was 2-for-his-last 28 until hitting Nolasco's 2-1 slider. He now has 17 homers and 45 RBIs on the year.
Back come the Angels: Pujols has had his own set of struggles and the future Hall of Famer was 3-for-33 over his previous 10 games until he delivered a two-run bases-loaded single to key the Halos' four-run burst that tied the game up in the seventh. Moore, a former starter who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma earlier in the day, walked Trout to load the bases and Pujols, who also singled in his previous at-bat, drove a 1-2 slider into center. Cron followed with an RBI single and Simmons tied it with a run-scoring double as Moore allowed four straight hits and a walk with two outs before Pazos came on to end the inning. More >>
"I know what I can do," Pujols said. "Sometimes you go through a little funk, but you don't want to throw in the towel. You just want to continue to fight."
"They gave me plenty of time out there. That wasn't the problem. It was just putting guys away with two strikes," said Moore, making his first relief appearance. "They said be ready whenever and it was just a matter of going out and competing. I just made some bad pitches."
"Obviously I don't want to make the error in that moment. I had it in my mind to come get the baseball instead of staying back. I was trying to make the double play. I made that great diving play in the eight, but I missed the big one. It's part of the game. We all have to do our job. I'm trying to do mine the best I can." -- Segura after making an excellent stop to rob Cliff Pennington before committing the tough error in the ninth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cruz's second-inning homer was his eighth in his last 11 games and fourth in the past three games and he increased his AL-leading RBI total to 92.
Angels:JC Ramirez (10-10, 4.21 ERA) will take the mound and oppose fellow Nicaraguan Erasmo Ramirez on Saturday as the Angels continue their four-game series with the Mariners at 6:10 p.m. PT at Safeco Field. Ramirez, who was signed as an amateur free agent by Seattle in 2005, has made six career relief appearances against his original club, allowing five runs over nine innings.
Mariners: Erasmo Ramirez (4-4, 5.10 ERA) will make his third start for the Mariners in Saturday's 6:10 p.m. PT game, which will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. ceremony to retire Edgar Martinez's number at Safeco Field. Ramirez was acquired from the Rays on July 28 and is 0-1 with a 7.56 ERA in his first two outings while transitioning from a bullpen role with Tampa Bay.
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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
@GregJohnsMLB]() and listen to his podcast.
Maria Guardado** covers the Angels for MLB.com.