Anaheim, Calif. —We know what Mitch Haniger was doing with his time off during the All-Star break. Swinging the lumber.
Instead of taking it easy and resting for the second half of the season, the Seattle outfielder worked on his swing in the cage. After the Angels game, it appears the small adjustments are working.
Haniger had three hits, including a two-run homer, and Chris Flexen cooled the Angels as the Seattle Mariners held off Los Angeles 6-5 at Angel Stadium in front of a season-high crowd of 40,880 on Friday night.
“I feel excited for the second half of the season so that we can finish strong,” said Haniger, who finished a triple shy of the cycle and is 9 for 20 in his last five games.
The game was tied (1-1) in the third inning before the Mariners broke it open with three runs. Haniger lined a one-out double to the left field corner and scored on Ty France’s RBI single. Seager then gave the Mariners a 4-1 lead when he drove a fastball from Andrew Heaney (5-7) to right for his 17th home dinger.
Heaney had a tough night, who gave up four runs in four innings was hit hard and often.
“His stuff was not normal,” Maddon said. “I said he didn’t have that normal jump, and he didn’t disagree. He didn’t have the normal jump and carry on the ball, and the hitters were on him.”
Heaney’s ERA climbed to 5.56. Dylan Bundy, who has been demoted to the pen, gave up another homer, his 17th of the season in 69 innings. He has a 6.78 ERA.
Heaney has allowed 19 earned runs in 18-1/3 innings in his last four starts. He gave up a run in the first on two singles and a hit batter. After a perfect second, he was scorched by a three-batter sequence in the third.
“If I have a halfway decent start there, the rally we have in the ninth that comes up a little short, doesn’t come up short,” Heaney said. Shohei has a walk-off and we’re celebrating a win to start the second half.”
The Angels manage Joe Maddon was excited with some of the things Anaheim did right, especially in that ninth-inning rally.
“Listen, of course you want to win, but I loved every second of our effort tonight,” Maddon said. “Your team plays like that every night, you’re going to win a lot of games. Superlatives, I could stay here all night. We didn’t pitch as well as we can. Andrew had a tough night.”
The loss dropped Anaheim back to .500, at 45-45, with just 12 games to go before the July 30 trading deadline.
Angels second baseman David Fletcher got two hits and extended his hitting streak to 25 games, tied with Rod Carew for the second-longest in franchise history. Only Garret Anderson’s 28-game streak in 2008 was longer.
Shohei Ohtani’s two-run single in the ninth trimmed the lead to 6-5. Jared Walsh then singled to send Ohtani to third with the potential tying run, before Phil Gosselin hit a flyout to end the game.
Chris Flexen (9-3) went seven innings and allowed only one run on six hits with two K’s. In his last start against Anaheim on July 10, he threw seven shutout innings.
Flexen is 4-0 in his past six starts and has permitted one run or fewer in all but one. The right-hander threw only 79 pitches and got a lot of contact early in counts, but Mariners manager Scott Servais decided to turn to the bullpen because Flexen had been through the lineup three times.
Despite Flexen’s performance, Seattle’s bullpen nearly gave it away. Seattle held a 6-2 lead going into the ninth before the Angels took advantage of a pair of errors, scoring three times to close within a run.
“It was a highly efficient outing. That’s where we want to be. I was able to make pitches when I needed them to make contact,” Flexen said.
With runners at the corners and two outs, Paul Sewald got Phil Gosselin to line out to right field to preserve the win for the Mariners.
Sewald earned his third save after Kendall Graveman gave up three hits and three unearned runs in two-thirds of an inning.
“The ninth inning was not really indicative of how we’ve played. We didn’t make plays behind him,”Seattle manager Servais said. “It’s a tough spot for Sewald to come in but he got the job done.”
Eaton went 2 for 4 in his Angels debut, including a double in his first at-bat. The veteran outfielder was signed by Los Angeles on Wednesday after he was released earlier in the week by the Chicago White Sox.
THE DROUGHT ENDED:
Mariners top prospect Jarred Kelenic, recalled from Triple-A Tacoma, snapped an 0-for-42 major league skid with an eighth-inning single.
Kelenic was called up in early May but was sent down last month after batting .096 in 23 games.
Angels: CF Mike Trout (calf strain) still does not have a timetable for when he can begin a rehab assignment because he still is not running at 100%.g 3B Anthony Rendon will miss at least another two weeks as his hamstring strain is healing slower than expected.
Angels RHP Alex Cobb (6-3, 4.23 ERA) has allowed only one earned run in 13 innings in his two July starts. He will be opposed by Mariners LHP Yusei Kikuchi (6-4, 3.48), who is ninth in the AL in ERA.