Angels stun Mariners in another walk-off
ANAHEIM -- Another night, another walk-off at Angel Stadium.
Twenty-four hours after Carlos Perez hit a walk-off homer in his Major League debut, Johnny Giavotella laced a walk-off double off Mariners reliever Carson Smith on Wednesday night, sending the Angels to a 4-3 victory that gave them two of three in the series.
The last time the Angels won back-to-back games in walk-off fashion was May 29-30, 2010, also against the Mariners.
"My mindset going into that at-bat was to hit a hard groundball -- preferably in the four-hole, but just put it in play," said Giavotella, who ranks second in the American League in game-winning RBIs, with five. "I hit it in the right-field line and won the game."
Huston Street entered the top of the ninth with a 0.90 ERA and had converted all nine of his save chances, but he gave up a leadoff double to Kyle Seager and a single to Mike Zunino, putting runners on the corners with none out. Two batters later, pinch-hitter Dustin Ackley hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Erick Aybar was on first with one out in the bottom half -- after a sacrifice bunt that resulted in a fielder's choice -- when Giavotella ripped a Smith pitch down the right-field line on a hit-and-run, easily scoring the speedy shortstop from first to give him his first walk-off hit.
With that, the Angels moved to 13-15 and the Mariners -- losers of six of their last seven -- fell to 11-17.
"It ran up and in," Zunino said after the Mariners tried to pitch Giavotella low and in to induce a ground ball. "With a hit-and-run, Giavotella did a good job getting on top of it and keeping it fair. Carson has a pretty good sinker with good run to it. So to be able to get inside that pitch and keep it fair down that right-field line, that was a good piece of hitting."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trout-tastic: Mike Trout got a 1-2 fastball from Roenis Elias in the third and crushed it way out to deep center field, beyond the bushes and into the lawn, where few have ever hit them. Trout's two-run shot gave him a team-leading seven on the season and put the Angels ahead, 3-0. It traveled 441 feet, with a batted-ball velocity of 107 mph. Trout also flashed some leather to end the seventh, diving deep in the right-center-field gap to rob Chris Taylor of extra bases.
"It's Mike Trout," Wilson said when asked if he was surprised his center fielder make that catch. "I'm thankful." More >
It helps to have a runner on: Seager ripped a two-run homer off C.J. Wilson in the fourth inning in what surely went against the odds. Seager was 3-for-37 against Wilson in his career prior to that at-bat and Wilson had allowed just nine homers to left-handed hitters in his last seven seasons. Even better for the Mariners, the unexpected blast came with Nelson Cruz on first base following a one-out single. Of Seattle's first 34 home runs this season, 27 had been solo shots.
"It was a first pitch and I just tried to be aggressive," Seager said. "He's a guy that's not an easy at-bat, so you try different things to get something going." More >
Ca-not this time: Robinson Cano entered Wednesday's game with a .298/.400/.468 slash line against Wilson, a fellow lefty. But the Angels' starter struck him out on three straight pitches in a key situation in the fifth, with two on, two outs and the Angels clinging to a one-run lead. Wilson finished giving up just two runs on seven hits and no walks in seven innings, dropping his ERA to 2.70.
"You couldn't ask for much more out of C.J.," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He had it going all night, used all his pitches, pitched inside well. He did everything that he usually does and pitched a good game."
Solid start for Elias: Pitching has been an inconsistent proposition for the Mariners over the first month, but Elias put up a solid outing in his third start in place of the injured Hisashi Iwakuma. The left-hander gave up three runs in the third, including Trout's blast, but then settled in and finished with six hits and just those three runs allowed over seven innings on a 97-pitch night. He got a little help from Cruz in the fourth when the big right fielder hauled in C.J. Cron's drive up against the wall.
"I thought he threw a pretty nice ballgame," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "He gave up the home run, but after that he settled down and really shut 'em down pretty good."
"He just couldn't seem to find the strike zone for some reason. We thought there was a possibility they might hit-and-run, but with a guy with a heavy sink boring in, we thought we'd be OK. And he threw a fastball up and away. That's baseball. It's tough to swallow sometimes. But we'll bounce back." -- McClendon, on Smith's ninth-inning performance
"We're having great at-bats, swinging the bat well. One through nine we're hitting balls hard. Sometimes we're not getting hits, but we're finding ways to win, and that's big." -- Trout, on an offense that ranks 23rd in runs scored but may be turning the corner
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
After allowing just 14 home runs in 22 games in April, the Mariners have surrendered 16 in the first six games of May.
Trout's home run was the longest the Angels have hit this season.
Mariners: After an off-day on Thursday, the Mariners open a 10-game homestand Friday with a 7:10 p.m. PT meeting with the A's at Safeco Field. Taijuan Walker (1-3, 8.74 ERA) looks to get back on track after a rough outing in Houston, but he'll have his work cut out against Oakland ace Sonny Gray (4-0, 1.67).
Angels: The Angels begin a four-game series against the first-place Astros at 7:05 p.m. PT on Friday, with left-hander Hector Santiago (2-2, 3.14) opposing righty Collin McHugh (4-0, 3.41). Santiago gave up a season-high four runs in five innings against the Giants on Saturday, scattering nine hits and walking two batters.
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