EditorsNote: new headline, rewords fourth graf
Mike Leake allowed one run in seven innings, and Nelson Cruz hit a three-run home run to lead the Seattle Mariners to an 8-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night in the first game of a four-game series at Anaheim, Calif.
Leake (10-9) gave up four hits and one walk while striking out five and making 114 pitches. Only two Angels were able to get into scoring position while Leake was in the game — Mike Trout doubled in the first inning, and Justin Upton hit his 27th homer of the season in the seventh.
The Mariners had 12 hits, including two each from Cruz, Mitch Haniger, Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano, but no hit was bigger than Cruz’s three-run blast in the fourth inning that made the score 6-0. It was Cruz’s 36th homer of the season.
The victory allowed Seattle to pick up a game on Oakland in the American League wild-card race, moving the Mariners within 8 1/2 games of the second wild=card spot and keeping their slim hopes alive.
With the loss, the Angels were eliminated from playoff contention, falling 16 games behind Oakland with 15 games remaining.
In what has been rumored to be Mike Scioscia’s final season as the club’s manager, the Angels will not make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season and for the eighth time in the past nine seasons.
The Angels went to the playoffs in six of Scioscia’s first 10 years at the helm.
Seattle took the lead in the top of the first inning against Angels starter Odrisamer Despaigne, getting an RBI single from Cano and a sacrifice fly from Ryon Healy.
After giving up singles to Ben Gamel and Mike Zunino to start the second inning, Despaigne was given the hook. Jim Johnson entered and gave up a sacrifice fly to Haniger, the Mariners upping their lead to 3-0.
Despaigne (2-3) gave up three runs on four hits and one walk in just one-plus innings.
Cruz’s homer in the fourth inning off Noe Ramirez all but put the game out of reach the way Leake was throwing for Seattle.
Trout and Upton each had two hits for Los Angeles.
—Field Level Media