ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The last time the Mariners visited Angel Stadium on a sunny Sunday, Edwin Diaz and the Seattle bullpen turned a six-run lead in the ninth inning into an agonizing defeat.
Nearly three months and many innings later, the Mariners teetered on the edge of another late-inning belly flop in Anaheim before Diaz confidently pulled them back.
Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer in the eighth and James Paxton retired the first 16 Angels he faced in the Mariners’ 5-3 victory over Los Angeles.
Cano’s shot off the right-field pole put Seattle up 5-1 in the eighth, but the Angels replied with four consecutive singles and Cameron Maybin’s long sacrifice fly off the previously unhittable Nick Vincent, who allowed a run for only the second time in his last 30 appearances.
Yet the Mariners claim they heard no echoes of that bullpen collapse in Anaheim on April 9, when a 9-3 lead turned into a 10-9 loss.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” manager Scott Servais said with a smirk when reminded of their last Sunday in Anaheim. “I’ve forgot it. We move ahead. We won two out of three.”
Cameron Maybin and pinch-hitter Nick Franklin drove in runs off Vincent in the eighth, but Mark Rzepczynski got Kole Calhoun on a popup.
Diaz then induced an inning-ending groundout from Albert Pujols, but only with Danny Valencia barely keeping his foot on first while catching Jean Segura’s poor throw.
Diaz returned for the ninth and calmly retired the Angels in order, striking out Cliff Pennington to end it.
Diaz yielded three hits and three runs in that April collapse, including Pujols’ game-tying single and Pennington’s RBI winner.
“Vincent has been so locked down all year,” Servais said. “The Angels are the one team that for whatever reason, they see the ball well off him and they’ve had more success than others. But a big out by Rzepczynski, and Eddie Diaz really got back to pitching today. Our bullpen has been getting us a lot of big outs. Good series to win on the road. The last time we were here, we struggled, obviously, so it’s nice to get two out of three and head home.”
Segura had four hits and drove in two runs.
Paxton (6-3) continued his career-long dominance of the Angels, throwing 6 1/3 innings of two-hit ball in his best start since missing most of May with a forearm strain. The left-hander has a career 2.04 ERA against the Halos, the second-best among active pitchers.
Danny Espinosa got the Angels’ first hit off Paxton in the sixth, singling to left.
“I knew that it was going on,” Paxton said of his perfect game bid. “Guys were making a lot of plays behind me. I didn’t have my best fastball, but I was making other pitches.”
Jesse Chavez (5-9) yielded just four hits and two runs over five innings in his fifth consecutive winless start since June 6 for the Angels, who have lost three of four.
“I was happy with it, but I just ran out of pitches,” Chavez said of his 96-pitch start. “Guys put together a lot of long at-bats with a lot of fouls, at least 30.”
Segura had yet another big game against the organization that developed him and then traded him in 2012 for 13 starts from Zack Greinke, delivering a run-scoring single in the third and an RBI double in the fifth. Current Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto made the deal.
Segura is 17 for 50 (.340) against the Angels in his career.
Franklin’s RBI single in the eighth was his first hit for the Angels, who acquired him from Milwaukee on Friday.
Mariners: DH Nelson Cruz sat out after injuring his knee while sliding into second base Saturday. Seattle recalled Boog Powell, who grew up in nearby Mission Viejo, California. Powell had two hits and scored a run, delighting his loud personal cheering section with his first career multi-hit game.
Angels: Mike Trout will participate in a private workout Monday and a full workout Tuesday with Class A Inland Empire. If the two-time AL MVP looks strong, he will begin playing rehab games with Inland Empire. Now a six-time AL All-Star selection, Trout has missed 33 games after left thumb ligament surgery.
Mariners: RHP Andrew Moore (1-0, 3.86 ERA) makes his second big league start when the Mariners return home to open a series with Kansas City.
Angels: RHP Alex Meyer (3-4, 3.74 ERA) looks to continue his encouraging start to the season when the Angels open a road trip against the Minnesota Twins, Meyer’s former team.