Pujols, Escobar lead Angels to 6-4 win over Mariners
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Albert Pujols has proved time and time again that he can come through when teams decide to pitch around Mike Trout.
He did it again Thursday night.
Pujols drove in two runs, Yunel Escobar had three hits and scored twice, and the Los Angeles Angels held off a late rally and beat the Mariners 6-4.
After Trout was intentionally walked by reliever Nick Vincent in the eighth, Pujols delivered a two-run double to push the Angels' lead to 5-2.
''In big situations, most of the time he's come through,'' Trout said. ''It's been fun to watch.'''
The hit gave Pujols 95 RBIs on the season, trailing only Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion (100) for the AL lead.
Trout went 0 for 2 with two walks and scored twice as the Angels earned a split of the four-game series with just their second win in 14 games.
Fernando Salas gave up a two-run homer to Adam Lind in the ninth, but got Leonys Martin and Shawn O'Malley on grounders to end the game.
One night after his second five-hit game of the season, Escobar went 3 for 4 with a double.
Matt Shoemaker (7-13) limited the Mariners to two earned runs - on solo homers to Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz - and five hits. He struck out five and walked two.
''It's a tough lineup for him with a lot of left-handed hitters who can drive the ball,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He was pitching with his back against the wall most of the game until we broke it open so that's a good outing for Matt.''
The two walks were uncharacteristic for Shoemaker, who has made eight starts without issuing a walk this season, but felt that his only big mistake was the home run to Cruz.
''I was upset but you can't do anything about it and you have to move on,'' Shoemaker said. ''The next pitch to Cruz, I just needed to bear down and make a better pitch. It wasn't where I wanted, just a little up, which is going to happen sometimes.''
Hisashi Iwakuma (14-8) allowed three runs and six hits over seven innings, snapping a streak of three straight wins. Seattle remained 2 1/2 games behind Boston for the second AL wild card.
Vincent took over for Iwakuma in the eighth inning and for the second time in the series, had trouble getting around Pujols.
With the Angels hanging on to a 3-2 lead, Escobar doubled to lead off and Trout was intentionally walked two batters later. Two nights after taking Vincent deep, Pujols cleared the bases with a double to the left-center gap, putting Los Angeles up by three.
Andrelton Simmons made it to second when Pujols was caught in a rundown but Vincent then gave up a single to Nick Buss and was removed for lefty Vidal Nuno.
''We really needed a shutdown inning there to be able to get back in the ninth and it didn't happen,'' Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ''We need to get Vincent back.''
Jefry Marte's pinch-hit single scored Simmons to make it 6-2.
Cano homered for the 26th time in the first inning. It was his 10th home run on the first pitch, the most in baseball. Cruz's 31st home run in the sixth inning cut Los Angeles' lead to 3-2. He's now tied with Chicago's Todd Frazier for third in the AL.
The Angels scored two runs off of Iwakuma in the first inning and Jett Bandy hit his eighth home run in the fifth inning to make it 3-1.
''It was a first-pitch slider that I threw for a strike,'' Iwakuma said. ''It was out over the fat part of the plate and he got to it.''
Mariners: LHP James Paxton threw a bullpen session on Thursday and reported no effects of the forearm tightness that landed him on the 15-day disabled list a day prior. He'll make rehab start with Triple-A Tacoma this weekend. ... RHP Steve Cishek made a rehab start with short-season Everett on Wednesday, throwing one inning and focusing mostly on fastballs. Cishek was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hip labrum tear on Aug. 4 (retroactive to Aug. 2).
Mariners: LHP Wade LeBlanc will make his first start against Milwaukee since Sept. 4, 2012. Seattle is 7-1 in LeBlanc's eight appearances this season and he's 2-1 with a 5.19 ERA in five appearances against the Brewers.
Angels: RHP Jered Weaver will open the three-game series against the New York Yankees. Weaver is 7-6 with a 6.08 ERA in 16 appearances against New York.