ANAHEIM, Calif. — A three-run 10th inning can cure a lot of things.
Just when the chill seemed to return Friday throughout the Mariners’ lineup, they struck for three runs in the 10th inning and opened their weekend with a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Franklin Gutierrez delivered a tie-breaking pinch single against reliever Jose Alvarez (0-1) that scored Ketel Marte from second base. Marte opened the inning with a single and went to second on Nori Aoki’s sacrifice.
"I think I’m better prepared mentally (for clutch situations than earlier in his career)," Gutierrez said. "I don’t put pressure on myself. I think that’s the change." Nelson Cruz added a two-run homer later in the inning, which provided closer Steve Cishek with a three-run cushion later in the inning. Cishek responded with his fourth save.
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Cruz’s drive was a low laser to left that just cleared the low wall.
"I hit it in the right spot," he said. "I thought it had no chance to be a homer. I thought it was a double right away. Thank God, it went to the little corner."
The late punch followed Thursday’s 10-7 victory at Cleveland when Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning.
"We found a way to get it done," Cruz said. "That’s good. If you want to go a long way, you have to pull out those games."
Friday’s three-run rewarded Joel Peralta (1-0) with a victory after retiring the heart of the LA order in the ninth inning. It was also the Mariners’ sixth victory in eight games and lifted them back to .500 at 8-8.
It started well.
The Mariners struck for two runs in the first inning against LA starter Nick Tropeano after loading the bases with no outs on a double by Nori Aoki, a walk to Seth Smith and a single by Robinson Cano.
Cruz’s sacrifice fly made it 1-0 before a walk to Kyle Seager reloaded the bases with one out. Adam Lind’s sacrifice fly added a second run.
The attack went into a shell for the rest of the night. So it was up to Hisashi Iwakuma to make the two runs stand up. He couldn’t do it. Almost but not quite.
Iwakuma started a day ahead of schedule as a replacement for an ailing Felix Hernandez and held the Angels to two runs in eight innings. He yielded homers in the fourth to Kole Calhoun and in the fifth to C.J. Cron.
LA threatened in its first when its first two hitters, after falling behind 0-2 in the count, reached on singles. Iwakuma escaped by retiring Mike Trout on a fly to left and through a web-gem double play on Albert Pujols.
Another Pujols double-play grounder erased Trout after a leadoff single in the fourth, but Iwakuma then hung a first-pitch curve that Calhoun drove into the right-field seats.
Cron’s leadoff homer in the fifth pulled the Angels even at 2-2 — and he got all of it: 426 feet to straight-away center field.
PLAY OF THE GAME: The Mariners turned a double play in the first inning that bailed out Hisashi Iwakuma. Los Angeles had runners at first and second with one out when Albert Pujols hit a hard grounder up the middle.
Second baseman Robinson Cano made a nice stop behind the base and flipped to shortstop Ketel Marte, who rushed the throw to first — but Adam Lind held the base long enough to complete the double play.
PLUS: Hisashi Iwakuma had his best start of the season in limiting the Angels to two runs in eight innings…Ketel Marte had two hits…Adam Lind continues to show life at the plate, although his power remains absent. He had two singles and a sacrifice fly in four plate appearances…Joel Peralta protected a 2-2 tie in the ninth inning by retiring Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun…
MINUS: Lind tried to stretch a leadoff single into a double in the ninth inning. He was thrown out by left fielder Rafael Ortega…Nori Aoki nearly got picked off first in the second inning by Angels starter Nick Tropeano — and then did get picked off…it was a minus for the Mariners when Angels third baseman Yunel Escobar made spectacular diving catch at the line on Nelson Cruz’s one-out liner in the eighth inning.
STAT PACK: The Mariners have played into extra innings in four of their 16 games. That a pace for 41 extra-inning games. (That’s rounding up from 40.5.)
QUOTABLE: "A really good win," manager Scott Servais said. "I can’t say enough about what Kuma did. Getting a call at 12 o’clock, saying you’re pitching and then to go out and perform like that."
WHAT WAS THAT?: Confusion reigned in the Mariners’ sixth inning with Adam Lind at first base after a one-out single. A 2-2 pitch from Angels reliever Fernando Salas appeared to tick off the bat of Chris Iannetta.
Lind made a belated break for second and made it safely as both clubs stood around. That brought a protest from LA manager Mike Scioscia, and Lind was sent back to first base.
That brought a protest from Mariners manager Scott Servais, which grew heated at one point. But the ruling stood. Lind returned to first.
Lind broke for second on a full-count pitch to Iannetta and, when Iannetta struck out, the result was an inning-ending double play.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners