Seattle Mariners

Three takeaways after Mariners storm back to beat Angels

Kyle Seager (right) got an embrace from Nelson Cruz after hitting a three-run homer in the eighth inning.
Kyle Seager (right) got an embrace from Nelson Cruz after hitting a three-run homer in the eighth inning. AP

Here, finally, was some payback.

The Mariners, bedeviled all year in blowing leads to the Los Angeles Angels, stormed back Saturday night by scoring five runs in the eighth inning for a 6-4 comeback victory at Angel Stadium.

Kyle Seager delivered the decisive blow with a three-run homer, but Yonder Alonso followed with a solo shot for an insurance run that loomed big later in the inning when the Angels sought to mount another comeback.

Edwin Diaz escaped an inherited bases-loaded situation by retiring Mike Trout on an anything-but-routine pop to second baseman Robinson Cano for the inning’s final out. Diaz then breezed through the ninth for his 34th save.

"We’ve had a hard time closing out the Angels this year," manager Scott Servais said. "They’ve come back on us a few times. So it was nice to flip it tonight."

The Angels hold an 11-7 edge in the season series, which concludes with Sunday’s season finale. The Mariners held the lead in eight of those losses, including Friday, when they squandered a three-run advantage in the eighth inning.

"They did it to us again (Friday) night," Seager said. "It has been a frustrating year (overall) for us. That’s understood. We certainly expected a lot more out of ourselves this year than where we’re at."

The Mariners trailed 4-1 when Mitch Haniger started the eighth inning with a single against Cam Bedrosian. It was Haniger’s fourth hit in what would be a 5-for-5 night.

Hard ground singles by Cano and Nelson Cruz produced one run, and raised Cruz’s league-leading RBI total to 119.

Seager then crushed an 0-2 pitch for a three-run homer and, that quickly, the Mariners had a 5-4 lead.

"It was 0-2," he said. "Two good fastballs (from Bedrosian). I got behind early, and I fortunately got a curveball a little bit up. I was able to put a good swing on it."

Alonso followed by turning around a 2-2 fastball from Bedrosian for another homer. And it was 6-4. Now all the Mariners had to do was hold it.

Emilio Pagan got the first two outs in the LA eighth before giving up a walk and a single, which put the tying run on base and turned over the lineup.

It also prompted a pitching change to Marc Rzepczynski to get a left-on-left matchup against Kole Calhoun, who looped a single into left that loaded the bases for Trout, which brought Diaz into the game.

"He’s the best hitter in the world," Diaz said. "He’s got me a couple of times this year, but I got him. I made my pitch."

It wasn’t quite that easy. Trout hit a pop to short right field that Cano caught with an over-the-shoulder catch while just avoiding a collision with Haniger, who was charging in from right field.

"At the last second," Haniger said, "I called (for the ball). That’s one of those plays as an outfielder, you just try to go low. I feel like I had a shot to catch it if he couldn’t get to it. But he got there. That’s one of those no-man’s-land balls."

The day started with the Mariners summoning Andrew Albers from the bullpen for a spot start after scratching rookie Andrew Moore because of neck spasms.

Albers pitched better than his final line indicated but gave up a leadoff homer to Calhoun to start a two-run fifth after the Mariners pulled even earlier in the inning on a Jacob Hannemann homer.

Los Angeles stretched its lead to 4-1 in the sixth inning on doubles by Andrelton Simmons and C.J. Cron against Dan Altavilla.

It was all prelude to the eighth inning.


***Finishing kick: Haniger went 5-for-5 with three doubles and raised his average to .285. The five hits were a career best, and the three doubles tied a club record.

"I’m just trying to swing at good pitches," he said. "Same thing as always. Just trying to finish strong. We’re just trying to win each game. Just because we’re eliminated, nothing changes."

Haniger is closing his season much like he started it — on a surge. He is batting .378 (45-for-119) over 28 games since Aug. 30 with 10 doubles, eight homers and 17 RBIs in that span.

Recall that Haniger batted .342 in his first 21 games before suffering a strained right oblique muscle that forced him to the disabled list for nearly seven weeks.

Haniger struggled upon his return, batting just .203 in 37 games, before missing three weeks when hit in the face by a pitch. Now, he’s surging again.

"What a night!" Servais said. "Five-for-five with three doubles and smoked every ball. He’s in a groove. It’s kind of what we saw in April. He’s one of those guys who can ride the wave.

"Some guys can ride it for two days. He seems to ride it for a month."

***Segura sits on .300: Jean Segura will apparently end the season as a .300 hitter and, in doing so, become only the third different Mariners shortstop to achieve that distinction. He didn’t start Saturday and isn’t expected to play Sunday.

Segura returned to the lineup Friday after missing the four previous games because of a sprained right middle finger. He went 3-for-3 and raised his average to .300 (actually, .2996, but it rounds up) before exiting the game.

"He could show up in a game here or there," Servais said. "Jean’s had injury issues this year. He’s had a good season. I know he hasn’t played as much as he wanted to. It’s been one nagging thing after another."

The only previous Mariners shortstops to bat .300 in a season are Alex Rodriguez, who did it four times, and Felix Fermin.

***Breaking it down: In an era where there might be too many stats to count let alone sift through, third-base coach Manny Acta offered a simple formula on twitter to determine whether a non-pitcher had a good year.

Stripped of the twitter shorthand, Acta declared: "If your on-base percentage is below .330 or your OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) was below .750, don't call it a great season.

"You either made too many outs or not didn’t have enough extra-base hits."

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners