ANAHEIM, Calif. — For the second straight night, Seattle manager Scott Servais was not going to let Mike Trout make an impact with runners on base. The ninth-inning decision worked, but it might result in some bad blood for awhile between the Mariners and Los Angeles Angels.
Trout was intentionally walked with two outs in the ninth after a second-pitch, 95 mph fastball from Erik Swanson nearly hit the three-time AL MVP in the head. Shohei Ohtani – who hit a monstrous home run earlier – came up with runners on first and second, but lined out to right fielder Taylor Trammell to end the game as the Mariners held on for a 5-3 victory Saturday night.
Trout, who rarely shows frustration, was visibly upset after the game. He took exception to the mound conference before the at-bat and that the first pitch was also inside, but not as wild as the next one.
“I get that you are trying to throw up and in, but not at the head,” Trout said. “If you can’t pitch inside, don’t pitch inside. If you’re gonna hit me, hit me in the ribs, don’t hit me in the head. I don’t know if that was the intent, but anything at the head, you don’t do that.”
Servais declined to do a follow-up interview after Trout’s remarks while Swanson already left the clubhouse.
Trout, who had a double in the fifth inning, is batting .333 (9 for 27) with six home runs and 11 RBIs in seven games against the Mariners this season. After Sunday’s series finale, the teams play 11 more times, but not until early August.
Cal Raleigh had three hits and Kevin Padlo hit a two-run, bases-loaded single in the sixth inning for the Mariners, who have won a season-high five straight games.
Ohtani crushed a 462-foot homer off a 96.8 mph fastball from Logan Gilbert (8-3) in the third to tie it at 1. According to Statcast, the 118 mph exit velocity made it the hardest-hit HR of Ohtani’s five years in the major. It is the fourth longest of the AL MVPs 109 homers since he came stateside in 2018.
“It’s just another wild moment for him,” said Nevin of the Ohtani blast. “He just missed the last one. He hit it hard but it top-spinned on him. He certainly didn’t miss the home run though.”
Servais said the decision to put Ohtani at the plate in the ninth as the game-winning run was unconventional, but it ended up working.
“You can’t play scared. You’re gonna have to roll the dice once in a while,” Servais said. “I know a great hitter is coming up. It was a way better matchup for Swanson, and that’s what you’re looking at,”
Kurt Suzuki also had a solo shot in the fourth for the Angels, who have dropped four of five on their homestand. They’ve also lost two straight to the Mariners after taking four of five games last weekend in Seattle.
The Mariners would fall behind before rallying for three runs in the sixth. Angels’ third baseman Taylor Wade booted a grounder by Julio Rodriguez to load the bases with one out.
Pinch-hitter David MacKinnon had an RBI single to draw the Halos within a run in the sixth before the Mariners responded with Dylan Moore‘s sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Gilbert, who is sixth in the AL with a 2.44 ERA, fell one out shy of recording his eighth straight quality start. The right-hander went 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts.
Angels’ starter Patrick Sandoval battled control problems throughout the night, but only allowed one run in five innings. The left-hander gave up eight hits but struck out six, including two with the bases loaded.
Julio Rodriguez went deep for the second straight night. The rookie made Sandoval pay for leaving a slider up in the zone with a solo shot to left two batters into the game to put Seattle up 1-0.
Rodriguez joins Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez as the only players to homer in two straight games for the Mariners at 21 or younger. Julio Rodriguez, who has hit five of his 11 home runs in June, turned 21 this past December.
The Mariners didn’t go down in order until the ninth inning, were 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base.
In the last two games, Seattle has stranded 28 and is 5 for 31 with runners in scoring position.
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (4-7, 3.33 ERA) allowed two runs in seven innings to get the win last Tuesday in Oakland.
Angels: Nevin has not officially named a starter.