SEATTLE -- On a night they retired Ken Griffey Jr.'s No. 24, utility infielder Shawn O'Malley joked before the game about how he was only 628 career homers behind the Mariners all-time great. Then O'Malley went about narrowing the gap, launching a three-run blast in the seventh inning to lift Seattle to an 8-6 victory over the Angels in front of Saturday's sellout crowd of 45,618.
"That was awesome," said O'Malley, who was born and raised in Richland, Wash., about four hours east of Seattle. "Obviously I grew up watching Griffey and he's been amazing to watch. The fact it ended like that, it just seemed like a Griffey type of night. A home run to go up in the late innings, it was just fitting."
O'Malley, a 28-year-old who was released by the Angels two years ago, not only tallied his third career homer and second of this season, he added a defensive gem in the eighth inning at shortstop as the Mariners rallied from a 5-1 deficit. Franklin Gutierrez and Guillermo Heredia also had home runs for Seattle.
"It was an outstanding effort by everybody throughout the organization," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "It was a really good night to be a Mariner. From the Griffey stuff to our guys responding, pretty cool."
Until O'Malley's late heroics, Angels center fielder Mike Trout threatened to steal some of Griffey's thunder himself as he racked up four RBIs on a home run and triple. For the second straight night, Trout launched a three-run homer before the Mariners had recorded an out, but again the Halos couldn't make it stand up.
In his third start since coming back from his 2014 Tommy John surgery, Tyler Skaggs allowed four runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. He took a no-decision to remain 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA. The Angels have lost eight of their past 10 road games in falling to 49-61. The Mariners are 56-53, seven games back of front-running Texas in the American League West and 4 1/2 games out of the second American League Wild Card spot.
"It's humbling," said Skaggs, who came in having thrown 25 consecutive scoreless innings, including his last two Minor League starts. "These guys can hit. You can't just fall behind and expect to blow fastballs by people. Take today as a learning experience; there's going to be ups and downs."
Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker, in his first start after a month on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right foot, lasted just four innings while giving up seven hits and six runs. But relievers Cody Martin, Drew Storen and Tom Wilhelmsen combined for four scoreless frames before rookie Edwin Díaz came on to record his fourth straight save since inheriting closer duties.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
More bullpen woes:Jose Valdez was called up for his Angels debut, but walked the bases loaded with one out in the seventh, prompting Angels manager Mike Scioscia to turn to Deolis Guerra. Guerra followed by giving up a sacrifice fly to Leonys Martin, then served up the go-ahead, three-run homer to O'Malley, who spent some time with the Angels toward the end of the '14 season. The Angels' bullpen is without Huston Street (right knee) and Joe Smith (trade to the Cubs). The unit has allowed 16 earned runs in the last 20 innings. More >
"If we can't establish roles, we at least have to get guys to come in in certain situations and match up," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're going to continue to work on that. We feel we have some good arms down there; we feel they can come into games and hopefully make pitches. We just had trouble doing that tonight."
Heredia highlights: Mariners rookie left fielder Heredia hit his first Major League home run in the third inning and then turned a double play to get out of the fourth. His homer to left, measured at 384 feet by Statcast™, cut the Angels lead to 5-2. The 25-year-old Cuban then flashed his defensive prowess in the fourth when, with one out and a runner on, Yunel Escobar hit a soft line drive to shallow left center. Heredia ran it down and fired the ball to first to end the inning. Playing his ninth game since being called up from Triple-A Tacoma, Heredia also walked twice and scored a pair of runs from the leadoff spot.
"The thing that impressed me most about him, obviously I appreciate the athleticism in the outfield and how he goes about it is something we haven't had," Servais said. "But the quality of the at-bats has been really good. We're not expecting power from him, but certainly he got the barrel there and the ball jumped off it tonight. But controlling the strike zone, getting on base, doing the little things. He's still a work in progress, but it's nice to have the young energy in there."
Honoring 'The Kid': Trout, who often draws comparisons to Griffey, displayed shades of "The Kid" early in Saturday's game. Trout hit a three-run homer in the first -- just like he did on Friday against Félix Hernández, only this one traveled 444 feet, according to Statcast™. In the second, Trout covered 102 feet to track down a long fly ball from his former teammate, Chris Iannetta. And in the third, Trout legged out his third triple of the season.
"[Griffey] was the only guy that I've ever been able to compare Mike Trout to," Mark Langston, an Angels broadcaster and Griffey's former teammate, said pregame. "They make the game look so easy. They make it look like it's in slow motion. They make it look like what you remember as a kid, playing whiffle ball in the backyard."
Guti gets it going: Gutierrez had hit just .163 with two extra-base hits over his last 19 games, but the Mariners veteran right fielder cranked out a three-hit night that included a two-run homer in the fifth and a double in the first. The homer, his 11th of the season, cut the Halos' lead to 6-4.
"[Hitting coach Edgar Martinez] said something to me earlier today that he thinks Guti had found something, working in the cage and trying to get to certain pitches," Servais said. "And tonight it certainly paid off. No doubt he looked different in the box."
"You want to say you never die, you never quit and all that good stuff. But when there are 40-plus thousand people in the stands all wearing Griffey shirts, you better not quit. And we certainly weren't going to do that tonight." -- Servais
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Trout hit his 160th career home run the day before his 25th birthday, tied for seventh all-time. The others to amass 160 home runs before turning 25 were Frank Robinson and Trout's current teammate, Albert Pujols. Eddie Mathews is the leader in that category, with 190 before age 25.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Angels challenged the game-ending call at first base, when Gabe Morales signaled Escobar out for a double play. Replay showed that Escobar, who hit a grounder to third base, might have reached first base at the same time as the ball, but umpires ruled that there wasn't enough conclusive evidence to overturn the call, thus ending the game.
Angels:Matt Shoemaker (6-11, 4.08 ERA) takes the ball for the Angels on Sunday, looking to keep his dominant stretch going. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 2.72 ERA over his last 14 starts, striking out 98 batters and issuing just 14 walks in 96 innings.
Mariners:James Paxton (3-5, 3.93 ERA) starts the 1:10 p.m. PT series finale at Safeco Field. The lefty is coming off an eight-inning, one-run performance in which he took a no-decision in a 2-1 loss to the Red Sox.
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