Mariners quiet as Pujols' milestone leads Halos

May 5th, 2018

SEATTLE -- On the night made history by joining the 3,000-hit club, the Mariners didn't offer up much of an offensive counterpunch as they fell, 5-0, to the Angels in Friday's series opener at Safeco Field.

A Seattle club that had won seven of its previous nine games couldn't muster any sort of threat against right-hander (4-1, 3.93 ERA) as he surrendered just four hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings. The Mariners finished with five hits, never advanced a runner past second base and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position when they did have chances.

"Garrett Richards, we hadn't seen him in a few years with the injuries and we've missed him here a little bit the last couple years," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "But he's one of the better breaking balls in the league. Obviously he throws the tar out of it. We just didn't get much going offensively at all."

Richards rebounded from his one loss of the season -- a clunker against the Yankees when he allowed nine runs (five earned) in 1 2/3 innings -- with a sterling 86-pitch outing that included eight strikeouts and one walk.

"He was effectively wild with very electric stuff," said Mariners first baseman . "As a hitter, you hate to give credit, but give credit where credit is due. Hats off to him. His pitches don't end up in the same location all the time. So even though you may recognize slider, it's not going to finish where you want it to or it's going to finish bigger than you want it to. That makes him very effective."

Mariners starter Mike Leake fell to 3-3 with a 6.28 ERA as he allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings. The loss dropped Seattle to 18-13, a game and a half back of the Astros and Angels in the American League West.

retired five straight batters in relief of Leake, striking out the first three in an impressive Mariners debut. The former Met was promoted from Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday to take 's roster spot.

"Nice job by Erik," Servais said. "He threw one inning for us in Spring Training after we acquired him right at the end of the spring. I was really impressed with what I saw tonight. He's been around, he's got a little big league time and isn't awed by anything. And he executed his pitches."

Pujols added his 3,001st hit with a two-run single in the ninth, went 3-for-5 and Japanese sensation was 2-for-4 with an RBI double and walk at designated hitter for the Angels, who have won four straight. The Halos are 13-7 against Seattle since the start of 2017.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED

Keeping it close: Lefty specialist got into hot water in the eighth when he sandwiched a pair of walks around a double to load the bases with no outs. But Rzepczynski struck out and the Mariners then brought in , who got a broken-bat dribbler on his first pitch to and turned it into a 1-2-3 double play to keep the score at 3-0, with catcher squeezing a tight throw to Healy to get the second out.

"It was just one of those reactionary plays where you just pray it doesn't hit him and ricochet and hit you in the face," said Healy. "I stayed with it and it was a big play for us."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS

History at Safeco: Pujols reached 3,000 hits in the fifth inning with a flared single to right off Leake and promptly was swarmed by teammates who poured out of the Angels' dugout to greet him at first base. Pujols received a standing ovation from the crowd of 41,705 and doffed his cap as he took his base after the quick on-field celebration. He is the 32nd player in MLB history with 3,000 hits, and the fourth -- joining Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez -- with 3,000 hits and 600 homers.

"It was fun that it turned into a little bit of a battle before he got a hit," said Leake, who got Pujols to line out to short in the first and dueled him through a 10-pitch walk in the fourth. "But congratulations to him. He's a competitor every second that he's on the field. He's been a joy to watch and a joy to compete against, for sure."

HE SAID IT

"At the time, I didn't say anything. Obviously the moment was very big for him, and his teammates wanted to share it with him. Later on, when I got on first base I said something. Obviously it was a historic moment. I grew up watching him and I told him it was an honor to watch that kind of baseball history live." -- Healy, on Pujols' 3,000th hit

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Dee Gordon's infield single in the first extended his hit streak to six games. And though he went just 1-for-4, the Mariners' center fielder has gone 17-for-27 over that stretch to hike his average from .277 to .352, third in the Majors behind Boston's and Baltimore's Manny Machado.

UP NEXT

(3-2, 5.02 ERA) will look to continue his recent success when he faces Angels lefty (3-2, 3.03) in Saturday's 6:10 p.m. PT game at Safeco Field. Gonzales beat the Rangers and Indians in his last two starts while allowing two runs with 12 strikeouts and two walks in 12 innings.