It’s not as if Mike Trout only hammers the Mariners, but it’s appropriate they were on hand Saturday when he received his 2016 Most Valuable Player and Silver Slugger awards in a pre-game ceremony.
The Mariners played a key role in Trout winning those awards, and they’re already doing their part again this year.
Trout boomed a two-run homer in the seventh inning against reliever Evan Scribner that boosted the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-3 victory that extended the Mariners’ downward spiral through the season’s first week.
The Mariners are now 1-5 with only Sunday’s series finale remaining before they head home.
Trout’s homer broke a 3-3 tie before the Mariners crept closer by scoring once in the eighth inning on Nelson Cruz’s sacrifice fly. LA closer Cam Bedrosian protected the one-run lead in the ninth.
A year ago, Trout ravaged the Mariners for seven homers and 17 RBIs while compiling a .438 on-base percentage and a .730 slugging percentage in 19 games against the Mariners.
So, yes, they’ve felt this pain before.
Trout was actually hitless, with two strikeouts, in three at-bats against Mariners starter Felix Hernandez, including a memorable 14-pitch battle in the first inning that ended in a called strike.
But, oh, Trout crushed an 89-mph fastball from Scribner. It was a no-doubter that soared 417 feet to center field.
The Mariners jumped to a quick lead when Jean Segura opened the game with a line single to center, and Mitch Haniger followed with a two-run homer to left-center field.
Haniger put a 431-foot charge into a full-count fastball from Angels starter Ricky Nolasco for his second homer of the season.
Hernandez started on his 31st birthday and ended by winning that showdown with Trout before finding trouble in the second.
Albert Pujols led off with a double and went to third on Cameron Maybin’s one-out single. Both hits came on 1-2 off-speed pitches. Hernandez struck out Jefry Marte but gave up a two-out RBI single to Danny Espinosa.
The Angels then tried for a bunt by Martin Maldonado, but Maldonado was called out for being inside the line when hit by Hernandez’s throw to first.
It was a temporary reprieve.
Yunel Escobar opened the third with a double over the head of center fielder Leonys Martin and went to third on a wild pitch. Kole Calhoun tied the game with a single up the middle.
The Mariners wasted a chance to regain the lead after Danny Valencia’s leadoff double in the fifth.
Valencia went to third on Martin’s fly to deep center, but Nolasco got a key strikeout when Mike Zunino swung at three pitches out of the zone.
The Angels then took the lead when Escobar opened the bottom of the inning with a 411-foot homer to straightaway center.
Zunino atoned for his whiff in the fifth with a two-out RBI single in the seventh against reliever (and former teammate) J.C. Ramirez. It scored Seager, who opened the inning with a bloop single.
Both starters settled for no-decisions. Hernandez gave up three runs and 10 hits in six innings. Nolasco permitted just two hits (and no runs) after Haniger’s homer in his six innings.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Segura was breaking from first base with one out in the third inning when Haniger grounded to third. Segura kept running as Yunel Escobar threw across the diamond.
Marte’s return throw to third was high, but shortstop Andrelton Simmons made an acrobatic catch and tag as Segura went into a head-first slide. Initially called safe, the call was overturned on a video review.
The out took the bat out of Robinson Cano’s hands with a runner in scoring position. Suspect decision by Segura; heck of a play by Simmons.
PLUS: Martin took extra bases away from Marte in the fourth inning by making a diving catch in the left-center gap…While Hernandez gave up 10 hits, he held Trout hitless in three at-bats. Two strikeouts and a grounder to second…
STAT PACK: Trout and Hernandez battled through 14 pitches in the first inning before Trout took a third strike. Trout had nine foul balls in the at-bat. It was the longest at-bat by any opposing player in Hernandez’s career.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners