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Halos mash way to win; Suarez gets 1st MLB 'W'

Pujols drives in five; Trout, Fletcher each notch three-hit game
@RhettBollinger
June 2, 2019

SEATTLE -- Left-hander Jose Suarez was solid in his Major League debut and was backed by yet another offensive outburst from the Angels, including five RBIs from Albert Pujols, in a 13-3 win over the Mariners on Sunday at T-Mobile Park. It helped the Halos to their seventh win in

SEATTLE -- Left-hander Jose Suarez was solid in his Major League debut and was backed by yet another offensive outburst from the Angels, including five RBIs from Albert Pujols, in a 13-3 win over the Mariners on Sunday at T-Mobile Park. It helped the Halos to their seventh win in their last nine games, in which they have averaged more than seven runs per contest.

Suarez, ranked as the club’s No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, went 5 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts. His changeup was as advertised, as he induced 10 of his 15 swinging strikes with the pitch, including all four of his strikeouts.

Box score

"I felt really good," Suarez said through an interpreter. "I feel way more confident seeing what I was able to do against big league hitters, and I’m going to work from there."

Suarez, though, was optioned back to Triple-A Salt Lake after the game, as the Angels are going to stick with a five-man rotation that includes Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs, Felix Pena, Griffin Canning and Monday’s scheduled starter Trevor Cahill. The corresponding move will be announced before Monday’s makeup game at Wrigley Field.

“He did really well, but we have six starters right now and we’re going to a National League park and we need another position player,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “We only have three position players on the bench. That’s the reason behind it. Not always the best conversation when a guy just got his first Major League win, you know?”

The 21-year-old, who is the fifth-youngest active player in the Majors, was staked to an early lead with the help of a seven-run second inning, but after the extended frame, Suarez gave up two runs in the bottom half of the frame. He was hurt by a double from Kyle Seager after a bloop single from Domingo Santana and gave up runs on back-to-back RBI groundouts to second.

"It was a little difficult," Suarez said of the long layoff between innings. "But I was able to stay calm and stay focused in the dugout."

Suarez came back out for the sixth after having thrown 81 pitches, and he quickly got two outs before serving up a solo shot to Seager on a fastball that caught too much of the plate. It was his 88th pitch of the afternoon, which was one off his previous high at Triple-A Salt Lake this year. The 5 2/3 innings was also longer than any of Suarez’s five outings in the Minors this year.

"The swings and misses kind of tell the whole story," said catcher Dustin Garneau. "He's continually going to his [changeup], but they're continuously not hitting it or swinging over it. There's some action to it and he's got some deception."

Offense provides more than enough

Suarez was able to pitch with a comfortable lead throughout the game, thanks to the Angels scoring seven runs in the second and another five in the fifth. The Halos hit lefty Marco Gonzales hard, as he was charged with 10 runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings.

Pujols led the charge with a three-run homer in the second that capped the scoring, and he added a two-run double in the fifth on a deep drive to center that Mallex Smith lost in the sun, allowing it to drop for what was ruled a ground-rule double. It was Pujols' 24th career five-RBI game and his first since Aug. 1, 2017, against the Phillies. He’s now tied with Hall of Famer Ted Williams for ninth all-time in games with at least five RBIs.

"I don’t think there's anything different than what I had been doing early in the year," Pujols said. "I’ve been putting some good swings on the ball. For me, it's just about feeling healthy. I know what I can do when I get a good pitch to hit and don't try to do too much."

And while Suarez picked up his first big league win, second baseman Luis Rengifo hit his first Major League homer in the sixth inning, and it was a no-doubter. Rengifo, playing in his 23rd game, unloaded on a 1-0 changeup from Chasen Bradford, as the blast hit off the third deck in right field, going a projected 424 feet, per Statcast.

“I’m excited because I’ve been waiting for that for a long time, and I’ve got it now,” said Rengifo, who added that he’s going to give the ball to his mom. “I felt like when I hit the ball, it might be going out.”

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.