SEATTLE (AP) — Albert Pujols moved his way up another of baseball’s all-time lists, then showed he’s still got the savvy to steal a base when needed and provide his team a little extra cushion.
Pujols’ RBI double in the top of the 11th inning scored Mike Trout from first base and the Los Angeles Angels held on for a 6-4 win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
Pujols’ third hit of the game was a line drive down the right-field line off reliever James Pazos (0-1). Seattle right fielder Ben Gamel made the risky decision to dive for the liner that he had little chance of getting and it bounced up against the wall, allowing Trout to race from first with the go-ahead run. It was the 1,840th RBI of Pujols’ career and he passed Al Simmons and Ted Williams for 14th on the all-time list.
Pujols later stole third and scored on Andrelton Simmons fielder’s choice, providing a key insurance run as the Angels won for the seventh time in eight games.
“Albert, his legs feel better, he’s moving better this year,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “His foot is healed up from the last couple of years, both feet, so he’s moving better and he has a great field sense out there. It’s a tough base to take.”
Deolis Guerra (2-1) pitched the final two innings to get the victory. He was the last of six pitchers used by the Angels in relief of starter Matt Shoemaker, pitching at Safeco Field for the first time since being hit in the head by a line drive last September.
“Once I started my routine, getting warmed up for the game, getting ready, it wasn’t even a thought — which was great,” Shoemaker said.
The Angels took a 4-3 lead in the eighth after Kole Calhoun’s two-run homer off Seattle closer Edwin Diaz. They preserved the lead in the bottom of the inning when Cameron Maybin pulled back a possible home run off the bat of Guillermo Heredia.
But Seattle pulled even in the bottom of the ninth off Angels closer Bud Norris. Jarrod Dyson singled with one out, Gamel walked with two outs and Robinson Cano beat the Angels’ defensive shift for the second time in the game, punching a single through the left side to score Dyson from second with the tying run. Cano also beat the shift for an RBI single in the third.
“Our guys fought back, did a nice job there to tie it up,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “I was hoping we could get over the hump there in the bottom of the ninth.”
Shoemaker was on the mound in Seattle for the first time since last Sept. 4 when he took a frightening line drive to the head off the bat of Kyle Seager. The 105 mph line drive struck Shoemaker just above the right ear and he had surgery to stop bleeding on his brain immediately after he was hit. The Angels traveled to Oakland without him, while Los Angeles athletic trainer Adam Nevala stayed with Shoemaker in Seattle until he was able to travel.
Shoemaker didn’t appear rattled being back in Seattle. He gave up a pair of runs in the third on RBI singles by Cano and Nelson Cruz, but he had retired eight of nine batters before Danny Valencia’s homer in the sixth that gave Seattle a 3-2 lead.
Trout extended his hitting streak to 15 games, tied for the longest of his career. … Cruz extended his hitting streak to 11 games. … Paxton saw his streak of 18 straight scoreless innings at home snapped.
Angels: Los Angeles welcomed back infielder Luis Valbuena, who was activated from the disabled list. The Angels optioned right-handed pitcher Jose Valdez to Triple-A Salt Lake. Valbuena was out with a strained right hamstring. He is the 35th player used already this season by the Angels.
Mariners: Seattle selected right-handed pitchers Jean Machi and Emilio Pagan from Triple-A Tacoma to help with the bullpen. The two new pitchers were part of a flurry of roster moves by the Mariners as they opened the homestand. The Mariners designated pitcher Casey Fien for assignment and optioned first baseman Daniel Vogelbach to Triple-A Tacoma. They also transferred infielder Shawn O’Malley to the 60-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. Fien allowed 10 earned runs in six appearances with the Mariners, while Vogelbach struggled at the plate hitting .143 in six games.
Angels: Ricky Nolasco (2-2) goes for his third straight victory. Had a no decision in his first start this season against Seattle.
Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma (0-2) looks to build on his last start when he allowed just an unearned run in 5 2/3 innings vs. Detroit.