ANAHEIM, Calif. — For the second time in the series, Seattle Mariners reliever Nick Vincent couldn’t get Albert Pujols in a big situation.
Two nights after giving up a homer to the Angels’ slugger, Vincent intentionally walked Mike Trout in the eighth inning before Pujols hit a two-run double to lead Los Angeles to a 6-4 victory over the Mariners on Thursday night.
Pujols’ hit extended the lead to 5-2, and the Angels scored again later in the inning.
“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.”
Vincent has given up five earned runs in his past two appearances after going scoreless in the four prior. Servais was hoping to see the results of a session with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre but instead saw Vincent struggle with mechanical issues.
“He’s not real crisp, there’s not a whole lot of life to the ball right now,” Servais said. “He’s feeling for it a little bit right now. He’s done a good job for us all year and we certainly need him down the stretch.”
Fernando Salas gave up a two-run homer to Seattle’s Adam Lind in the ninth, but got Leonys Martin and Shawn O’Malley on grounders to end the game.
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.”
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.
“Iwakuma was right there,” Servais said. “He certainly threw the ball well tonight. He gave us every opportunity and kept us in the game. I was really happy with his outing.”
The Mariners, however, couldn’t take advantage of their opportunities at the plate. Seattle left four runners on in scoring position, going 0 for 8 in those situations.
Yunel Escobar, who had his second five-hit game of the season on Wednesday, had three more hits and scored twice for Los Angeles. Trout, who went 0 for 2 with two walks, also scored twice as the Angels earned a split of the four-game series with just their second win in 14 games.
Pujols now has 95 RBIs, trailing only Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion (100) in the American League.
With the Angels hanging on to a 3-2 lead in the eighth, Escobar doubled to lead off and Trout was intentionally walked two batters later. Pujols then had his big hit to put 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.
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 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.
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