Mariners go wild again in 9th, stun Angels

ANAHEIM, CA. — Instead of forcing the Angels into another series of errors in the ninth inning, this time the Mariners turned the ninth inning into an explosion of their own hits and runs.

And while Angels fans, at least those who chose to stay after Seattle scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning, vented their anger at opposing players and frustration with their own hapless team, the Mariners basked in their best offensive display of the road trip — an eventual 8-2 win over American League West rivals.

Adam Frazier’s two-run triple and Julio Rodriguez’s two-run homer to right field off veteran reliever Jesse Chavez highlighted the top of the ninth inning as the one-run game turned into a rout.

With the win, the Mariners all but secured the series victory and will take on the Angels in a three-game sweep on Wednesday afternoon with George Kirby starting.

“It’s a good win and it’s good to win the series we came here for,” manager Scott Servais said. “Now let’s go a little bit more tomorrow and push and see if we can sweep it.”

Seattle moved back to 10 games over .500 at 64-54 and in a tie for the top American League wild-card spot with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Angels fell to 51-65. The Mariners fell to 29-39 on June 19 after losing four of five games to the Angels in a weekend series at T-Mobile Park. They went 34-15 in that stretch. By contrast, the Angels are 18-29 over that span.

“We weren’t in a very good position after the first 2 1/2 months,” Frazier said. “It was like, ‘If we’re going to do this, we better make it tougher.’

The eight runs are the most the Mariners have scored since their July 4 win over the Padres, which was also 8-2. Since the return of Mitch Haniger from an extended stint on the injured list and the return of Dylan Moore to the bench, the Mariners offense hasn’t really offered much of a glimpse of a deeper lineup.

It certainly wasn’t obvious that the first five innings to get a runner on base, let alone score, seemed impossible.

For the first five innings, Angels starter Jose Suarez was perfect. Using a deft mix of all his pitches, the stocky left-hander, who came into the game riding 17 consecutive scoreless innings, retired the first 15 Mariners he faced. The Mariners haven’t had a lot of hard hitting balls in that stretch.

But after Suarez retired Kurt Casali in the sixth inning, Frazier ended his hopes for history with a single deep in the hole to shortstop.

With that first hit on the scoreboard, the Mariners added three more in a row. Sam Haggerty cut a line drive into left field and Rodriguez, who had been hitless in his previous 16 at-bats, singled to left center to load the bases.

Ty France, who was 1-for-19 on the road trip, had his fourth straight inning single. France hit a 3-2 fastball from Suarez against first baseman Jared Walsh with one out that scored a pair of runs to tie the game. Jesse Winker followed with a fly ball to right field that was deep enough to allow Rodriguez to get up and run home for the go-ahead run.

“Bases loaded, I knew he didn’t want to walk me out right there,” France said. “Going back and looking at it (on video), it was a good pitch. It was up and away and I just put a good swing on it.

Seattle got a quality start from left-hander Robbie Ray, who wasn’t always efficient in his six innings of work, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts. He allowed a solo home run to Luis Rengief in the first inning.

The third inning looked like it might be one of those big innings that plagued Ray early in the season. He allowed back-to-back singles to David Fletcher and Shohei Ohtani. Rengifo made it three straight by being ambushed on an RBI single to left in the first.

A walk to Taylor Ward loaded the bases and got pitching coach Pete Woodworth out of the dugout to visit the mound with Ray.

But in situations like this, Ray used his “Tell yourself to be ugly” mentality. He got Max Stassi into an inning-ending double play. The Angels were scoreless the rest of the night.

“I think it’s better to focus from the beginning of the game,” Ray said. “It’s all mental. It’s making the mental adjustments to realize that in situations where things start to get a little confusing, it’s knowing that you’re just one step away from getting out of the innings.”

Given the lead in the bottom of the sixth, Ray got around Taylor Ward’s leadoff single and an error by Winker to advance to second on the play. He came back to strike out Max Stassi and Jared Walsh to complete his outing on a weak pitch by shortstop Magnerius Sierra.

“As soon as the runner sat down, I gave it everything I had and just emptied the tank,” Ray said.

Andres Munoz followed with a scoreless seventh inning, striking out Rengief, who swung after walking Fletcher and giving up Ohtani’s two-out single.

Matt Festa worked an easy 1-2-3 ninth to preserve the one-run lead.

With a one-run lead, Cerve brought Paul Sewald into the bullpen for the save situation. But after five runs, Sewald sat down and Eric Swanson worked the ninth without incident.

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