Perez ends his debut with walkoff homer, Angels beat M's 5-4
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Carlos Perez is certain that his relatives back in Venezuela stayed up late to watch the catcher's major league debut with the Los Angeles Angels.
Did they ever get a show.
Perez hit a game-ending homer leading off the ninth, and the Angels snapped their four-game skid with a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
About 2 1/2 hours after the 24-year-old Perez singled in his first major league at-bat, he was mobbed by his new teammates at home plate and then doused by two buckets of ice after his dramatic shot into the bullpens beyond the left-field fence. He dried off in the clubhouse, but the wonder hadn't left him.
''I can't explain any of that,'' Perez said. ''It's my first game, and to finish like that, you'll never forget that moment.''
Perez connected against Dominic Leone (0-3), becoming the first major leaguer to hit a walkoff homer in his debut since Miguel Cabrera did it for the Marlins in June 20, 2003.
''When I saw the ball go up, I just said, `Go, go,''' Perez said with a grin. ''It was a great moment.''
The Angels acquired Perez from Houston in the offseason and recalled him Monday while he was batting .361 for Triple-A Salt Lake, eager to boost their stagnant offense. He'll share playing time with slumping starter Chris Iannetta, but his debut was incredibly auspicious.
''Anytime a guy performs, you're going to get more playing time,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Between his big hits, Perez had an eventful night catching Garrett Richards, the Angels right-hander with a 97-mph fastball and a vicious slider. Richards threw three wild pitches, but largely pitched effectively with Perez's help during seven innings of five-hit ball.
''He caught a great game,'' said Richards, who pitched to Perez during his Triple-A rehab start last month. ''I only had to shake him off like two times. He's very talented.''
Erick Aybar and Johnny Giavotella delivered RBI singles off Danny Farquhar to tie it in the eighth for the Angels, who had blown a one-run lead earlier in the eighth.
Albert Pujols also hit his 525th career homer for the Angels, and Huston Street (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth.
Mike Zunino drove in two runs for the Mariners, who have lost five of six. Kyle Seager drove in the tying run and Zunino had a tiebreaking RBI double in their three-run eighth against reliever Joe Smith.
''We showed a lot of fight in that inning, a lot of energy in the dugout, and guys had big at-bats,'' Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''Those are the kind of things that you like to see, so this is a tough loss. Anytime you have a lead going to the eighth inning, particularly with our bullpen, we expect to win.''
But Giavotella drove a single between two diving infielders to bring in the tying run later in the eighth.
''It's definitely upsetting,'' Farquhar said. ''I got a little unlucky with those groundballs finding the holes, but I should have made some better pitches and gotten some swings and misses.''
James Paxton kept pace easily with Richards during seven innings of four-hit ball, shutting down the Angels after the first inning.
Kole Calhoun singled on Paxton's first pitch, and Pujols drilled a 3-0 fastball well over the 390-foot sign in left-center for his fifth homer. The three-time NL MVP is surging after a slow start to the season, getting a hit in eight straight games.
Mariners: Although the starting job as shortstop has been given to Chris Taylor, Brad Miller is staying in the majors while OF Austin Jackson is sidelined for the next two weeks.
Angels: LHP Hunter Green, a second-round pick in 2013, has a stress fracture in his throwing elbow. The 19-year-old prospect missed all of last season with back problems.
Mariners: Roenis Elias (0-1, 3.86) makes his third start of the season after filling Hisashi Iwakuma's rotation spot.
Angels: Los Angeles wraps up the series with C.J. Wilson (1-2, 2.73), who has given up more than two earned runs in just one start this season.