O'Malley's 3-run homer caps Seattle's 8-6 win over Angels
SEATTLE (AP) A night that began with cheers for new Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. echoing through Safeco Field ended with chants for Shawn O'Malley, a kid that grew up a few hours southeast of Seattle idolizing the Hall of Famer.
A little surreal for O'Malley? Yep. Deserved? Absolutely.
''The fact it ended like that, it just seemed like a Griffey type of night,'' O'Malley said. ''A home run to go up, late in the innings, it was just fitting.''
O'Malley capped Seattle's comeback with a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Mariners rallied from a four-run deficit for an 8-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.
A few hours after the Mariners retired Griffey's No. 24 during an emotional pregame ceremony, O'Malley sent another charge through Safeco Field. O'Malley turned on an 0-1 pitch from Deolis Guerra and drove it into the right-field seats for his second home run of the season.
Moments later, O'Malley made a backhanded stop deep in the hole at shortstop to get Andrelton Simmons for the first out of the eighth inning and briefly Safeco Field began chanting O'Malley's name.
''It was pretty hard to miss. It was pretty loud,'' O'Malley said. ''That was pretty special, pretty cool. Never had that happen before.''
The conclusion to the day was celebratory for the Mariners, but it certainly didn't start that way. Seattle fell behind 3-0 on Mike Trout's 21st home run of the season in the first inning, and trailed 5-1 after Trout's RBI triple and Albert Pujols' sacrifice fly in the third.
Arguably the best center fielder of this generation was doing his best to upstage a night belonging to one of the best center fielders ever.
But the Mariners chipped away at the deficit, taking the words of Griffey from his pregame speech when he looked at the Seattle dugout and told this current crop to keep fighting as it hangs on the fringe of the wild-card race. Guillermo Heredia hit the first home run of his career leading off the third inning and Franklin Gutierrez added a two-run shot in the fifth to pull within 6-4.
Seattle missed an opportunity in the sixth inning by leaving the bases loaded. Reliever Mike Morin fell behind 3-0 to Gutierrez, who was given the freedom to swing and popped up to shortstop for the second out. Robinson Cano then popped out to right field to end the threat.
The Mariners finally took advantage of the shaky pitching in the seventh. Jose Valdez (0-1) opened the seventh getting Nelson Cruz, but then issued three straight walks to load the bases. Valdez was called up from the minors on Saturday.
''He looked good against Cruz. He threw some really good breaking balls but then just lost his release point,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Leonys Martin's sacrifice fly off Guerra pulled Seattle within 6-5 before O'Malley's shot.
''Confidence has gotten into him,'' Seattle manager Scott Servais said of O'Malley. ''He believes he's a big league player and I think you're seeing it in front of our eyes.''
Drew Storen (2-3) got the final out of the seventh to pick up the victory and Edwin Diaz pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
But the star for Seattle was Cody Martin, who pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief of starter Taijuan Walker. Martin allowed only two hits, one of them an infield single.
''Everybody is having a good time and we're like a little family out there,'' Martin said. ''We just have a great time during the games.''
Angels: RHP Tim Lincecum was designated for assignment on Saturday after giving up six runs in the first inning a night earlier. Lincecum was 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA in nine starts with the Angels.
Mariners: Seattle made a pair of trades, acquiring Arquimedes Caminero from Pittsburgh and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte from Toronto for players to be named later. Caminero is expected to report to Seattle on Monday, while Venditte is headed for Triple-A.
Angels: Matt Shoemaker (6-11) will go for his second straight victory. Over his last 15 starts, Shoemaker has a 2.85 ERA.
Mariners: James Paxton (3-5) looks to build on his last start when he allowed one run in eight innings against Boston but ended up being left out of the decision.