Bridwell, six-run 7th inning lift Angels past Mariners
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Two players who began the year at the Triple-A level played a big role in lifting the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-2 victory against the visiting Seattle Mariners in the regular-season finale on Sunday.
Parker Bridwell threw seven shutout innings, and Eric Young Jr. hit a three-run homer in a six-run seventh inning to pace Los Angeles.
Bridwell (10-3) allowed three hits, struck out three and walked one while lowering his ERA to 3.64 and becoming the team’s second double-digit winner this season.
“We never tucked our tails and wanted to just go home, or swing at bad pitches or just throw fastballs down the middle,” Bridwell said. “They fought until the end and I’m glad we ended the season on a good note.”
Mariners starter James Paxton matched Bridwell through the first six innings, allowing no runs and three hits, striking out nine and walking none.
Shae Simmons (0-2) replaced Paxton to start the seventh and walked leadoff batter Luis Valbuena. Shane Robinson failed to sacrifice Valbuena to second, but rolled a two-strike single up the middle. C.J. Cron then hit a chopper to third, and Robinson beat Kyle Seager’s throw to second and Cron was safe on the relay to first, loading the bases.
Cliff Pennington and Juan Graterol followed with sacrifice flies, Ben Revere grounded an RBI single up the middle and Eric Young Jr. lifted a three-run homer to left off James Pazos to give the Angels a 6-0 lead.
Young was signed to a minor-league contract on Jan. 24, two days before his infant son, Eric Young III, died after being born three months premature. He arrived at spring training a month later and began the season at Triple-A Salt Lake. He was called up on Aug. 29 for his second stint with the Angels this season.
“Everybody has been strong for me, which has enabled me to come out here and have fun and play baseball,” Young said. “This season was definitely one for the books, the ups and downs, and I definitely won’t forget the year 2017.”
Paxton was looking to finish the season on a high note after going 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in three starts since missing five weeks with a strained left pectoral muscle. He became the first Seattle pitcher to win six games in any calendar month when he went 6-0 in July with a 1.37 ERA, earning American League pitcher of the month honors.
Paxton, who came in with a 2.26 ERA in 10 career starts against the Angels, retired the first seven hitters before third baseman Kaleb Cowart reached on an infield single in the third. Mike Trout led off the fourth with a single to right field and was lifted for Young. Trout ended his season with a .306 batting average, 33 home runs and 72 RBIs in 114 games.
Paxton continued to roll, however, retiring another seven in a row following Trout’s single before Revere connected on a one-out single in the sixth. Los Angeles then put its first runner in scoring position when Young grounded out on a slow roller to third, moving Revere to second, but Nolan Fontana struck out.
The Mariners (78-84) put their first runner in scoring position off Bridwell when Yonder Alonso walked with two outs in the fifth and Gordon Beckham reached on an infield single, but Jacob Hannemann grounded to first to end the inning. Seattle also put two runners on in the seventh, but was unable to plate the game’s first run.
The Angels (80-82) had a record of 18-3 this season in games pitched by Bridwell, who began the season playing at the Triple-A level for the Baltimore Orioles before he was traded to the Angels on April 17.
“This is going to be one of my most important offseasons yet,” Bridwell said. “I’m going to get home and work my butt off.”
For the second consecutive game, a Seattle player hit his first major league home run. Mike Marjama, a catcher who was drafted out of Long Beach State, about 15 miles from Angel Stadium, hit a solo home run in the eighth for the first of his career.
Hannemann hit his first career home run Saturday night for the Mariners.
NOTES: The Angels replaced CF Mike Trout with a pinch-runner in the fourth inning Sunday, and SS Andrelton Simmons, 2B Cliff Pennington, LF Justin Upton and RF Kole Calhoun were removed for defensive replacements in the fifth. ... Seattle LF Ben Gamel and RF Mitch Haniger are the first pair of Seattle rookies with 25 or more doubles in a season. ... The 48 home runs hit by the Mariners in September are their most in a month since hitting 58 in May 1999.