ANAHEIM -- Mitch Haniger provided the early heroics with the longest home run of his career and two outstanding plays in right field, setting up Robinson Cano's go-ahead three-run double in the eighth as the Mariners pulled out a 6-5 win over the Angels on Saturday night.Cano's bases-loaded double over
ANAHEIM -- Mitch Haniger provided the early heroics with the longest home run of his career and two outstanding plays in right field, setting up Robinson Cano's go-ahead three-run double in the eighth as the Mariners pulled out a 6-5 win over the Angels on Saturday night.
Cano's bases-loaded double over Michael Trout's head in center field gave Seattle its third straight win over the Angels to open a 10-game road trip and clinched a winning season for the Mariners at 82-66, the 14th winning mark in the franchise's 42 years.
With the A's losing, the Mariners closed to 7 1/2 games back in the race for the American League's second Wild Card spot, but the odds remain slim as any combination of seven Oakland wins or Seattle losses in the final 14 games will mathematically eliminate the Mariners.
"We still have a chance and we want to go out there and fight 'til the end," said Cano. "That's what I love about this group of guys."
Edwin Diaz gave up a solo homer to Justin Upton in the ninth before closing out his Major League-leading 55th save, moving into a tie for third on the all-time single-season list with John Smoltz and Eric Gagne and seven shy of the record of 62 by the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez in 2008.
"That's a good number," Diaz said. "But I need to keep going and help the team win as many games as we can and keep pushing for the playoffs."
Haniger torched his 25th homer of the season, a blast projected at 443 feet by Statcast™, in a 2-for-5 game as he continued his torrid hitting from the leadoff position. Seattle also got its first home run from newly acquired utility man Kristopher Negron, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base while filling in for Kyle Seager at third base.
"That was definitely a lot of fun," said Negron, who hit his first home run since 2014 and just the seventh of his career. "But I'm just trying to help out the team any way I can, try not to do too much and just play my game."
Haniger provided a pair of defensive gems to keep the Angels off the board in the sixth, first throwing Trout out trying to score from second on a Shohei Ohtani single to right field, then robbing Upton of a potential two-run homer with a leaping catch at the wall on successive at-bats.
"Hanny is having an unbelievable season," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "You continue to see the confidence grow. The power, the quality of at-bats, the plays in the outfield, the throwing arm. He's the real deal, a complete package. It's a phenomenal season he's had."
Haniger is capping his first All-Star season with a strong finish as he's hit .329 (46-for-140) with 14 doubles, seven homers and 25 runs scored in 33 games since moving into the leadoff spot. His fourth-inning homer down the left-field line was two feet farther than his previous career long, which he set in 2016 and equaled last month in Arizona.
"Whether your team is out of it in September or you're still in it, you have to take pride in your job and yourself," Haniger said. "These games matter for everyone. I'm just trying to take runs away in the outfield and produce at the plate."
The Mariners needed all of that to overcome a 4-0 deficit after three Angels' homers off starter Erasmo Ramirez by Trout, Ohtani and Upton, with Seattle eventually hanging on for its MLB-leading 36-20 record in one-run wins after Upton hit his second home run of the game off Diaz in the ninth.
"Eddie finds a way to make it a one-run game just to add to our number a little," Servais said with a smile. "But 55 saves, wow. And hopefully we can continue to grow on that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Negron went 3-for-4, but even his one out turned out to be crucial as the 32-year-old hustled to first on a wild pitch after striking out for what would have been the second out in the eighth. Negron then stole second base, putting pressure on the Angels as the tying run. Relievers Jose Alvarez and Jim Johnson then walked Denard Span and Jean Segura before Cano laced his go-ahead double.
"Right there was kind of a big moment to keep the inning alive," said Negron. "Anything to spark the team, whether it's getting on by a dropped third strike, an error, a bloop single, anything to get a runner on base and get to the next person in line, because everybody has been swinging the bat well and you just want to get it to the next man up."
Cano's go-ahead double was the 528th of his career, tying him for 42nd on MLB's all-time list with Hall of Famers Cap Anson and Frank Robinson. He needs one more to catch Al Oliver and five to tie Lou Gehrig for 40th.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Haniger's outstanding day was capped by his home run saving catch on Upton's deep drive in the sixth off rookie reliever Matt Festa, with Haniger going up over the yellow line atop the fence to bring back what would have been a two-run shot and keep the score at 4-3. The play came immediately after he threw out Trout at the plate.
"That was cool," Haniger said of the back-to-back plays. "I was hoping that ball wouldn't carry and I'd at least get my glove on it and save it from going over. Luckily I brought it in."
HE SAID IT
"The goal is not to have a winning season, the goal is to get into the playoffs and extend your season. We hit a bumpy road there for a while. I wish we'd have had this consistent offense through the second half. We just haven't. But it's nice to see the guys still grinding through it, putting their work in, coming to the field ready to play every day. We'll continue to do so." -- Servais, on clinching a winning record, but being a long shot at a playoff berth
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Mariners won a critical challenge in the sixth inning when Trout was out at the plate after trying to score from second on a base hit by Ohtani. Haniger's strong throw home beat Trout, but he slid around the tag from catcher Mike Zunino and initially was ruled safe. Replay showed that Zunino tagged Trout, however, and the call was overturned. Haniger's throw was recorded at 95.4 mph by Statcast™ and carried 245 feet in the air.
"You just have to field it cleanly and come up throwing and hope it's on target with him and his speed," said Haniger. "Luckily Z was able to make a great tag."
Marco Gonzales (12-9, 4.24 ERA) starts Sunday's 1:07 p.m. PT series finale against Angels right-hander Jaime Barria (10-9, 3.53) at Angel Stadium. Gonzales returned from a three-week DL stint to throw five innings of one-run ball against the Padres after a winless August. He's 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts vs. the Angels this year and the Mariners have won all five games.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.