A four-run third inning was all Seattle needed in winning their home opener at Safeco Field Tuesday night, taking a 4-0 season series lead over the Angels.
The Angels struck for three runs in the first inning on back-to-back home runs from Albert Pujols and David Freese. Mike Trout singled to right field, setting the table for Pujols. The Angels’ first baseman tattooed a James Paxton fastball over the left field fence for his first homer of the season. Pujols’ 493rd home run ties him with Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff on the all-time list and makes him the 52nd player to earn 1,500 RBIs.
Angels starter Hector Santiago weaved in and out of trouble through the first two innings, ultimately submitting to Mariners’ hitters in the third. After getting two immediate outs, Brad Miller struck out swinging but Angels catcher Chris Iannetta couldn’t hold on to the ball. Miller reached first, Robinson Cano followed with a walk, and Justin Smoak singled to left field, scoring Miller.
The nail in the coffin was Corey Hart’s subsequent three-run homer that gave Seattle a 4-3 lead. Santiago allowed four runs and three walks in just 4 1/3 innings of work. To date, 23 of 31 Mariners runs have come with two outs.
Josh Hamilton, who questionably made an error in the fifth inning when the ball popped out of his glove, left the game in the bottom of the eight due to a thumb injury. Earlier in the game, Hamilton slid into first base trying to beat out a ground ball and stubbed his hand on the bag. “He stayed in but he went to the outfield and really couldn’t,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said in a televised post-game interview. “He tried to grip a bat and had trouble gripping the bat. It’s pretty swollen right now.”
The Angels drop to 3-5 on the season and look to salvage a split in the two-game series tomorrow night.