No need for Jose Marmolejos to worry about sliding this time.
Marmolejos hammered his first career home run 412 feet over the wall in right field in the first inning, giving the Mariners an early three-run cushion, and Marco Gonzales was superb into the seventh inning as Seattle clinched its first series win of the season with an 8-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels Thursday night at Angel Stadium.
Shed Long hit his first homer of the season, a solo shot 408 feet to right field, to spark a five-run ninth inning as the Mariners put the game away.
J.P. Crawford and Kyle Lewis continued their torrid starts to the season, each adding a two-run bloop single later in the inning to help the Mariners build an 8-2 lead.
Marmolejos, a 27-year-old rookie, made his major league debut with the Mariners last week after nine seasons in the minor leagues. He had his first major league hit Sunday in Houston on a hard hit to right field, and coasted into second base believing he had a clean double. Except, he was thrown out at second after a masterful deke by Astros shortstop Carlos Correa.
Marmolejos was allowed a casual jog around the bases Thursday night after his no-doubt blast off Angels starter Dylan Bundy. That scored Crawford and Kyle Seager and gave the Mariners a 3-0 lead.
Gonzales was sharp in his second start of the season. Facing an Angels lineup playing without superstar Mike Trout – who began his maternity leave Thursday – Gonzales faced the minimum through three innings, allowing only one walk.
Gonzales was particularly sharp working the inside corner on right-handed hitters. He struck out Anthony Rendon swinging at a high inside fastball in the first inning, and struck out Juston Upton twice looking at cutters.
An error by Long at second base extended the fifth inning for the Angeles, and Max Stassi followed with a two-run, opposite-field home run on a Gonzales curveball, cutting the Mariners’ lead to 3-2.
Those were the only runs Gonzales allowed.
With one runner on and one out in the seventh, Carl Edwards Jr. relieved Gonzales and struck out Albert Pujols and got Taylor Ward to ground out to end the inning.
Gonzales’ final line: 6⅓ innings, three hits, two runs (none earned), one walk and six strikeouts.
Crawford, the second-year shortstop, hit leadoff for the second night in a row – after getting on base four times in the Mariners’ 10-7 victory Wednesday. He had two more hits Thursday, including his two-run single in the ninth.
Lewis has been just as impressive. After striking out in his first two at-bats against Bundy, Lewis had two singles late in Thursday’s game, including another opposite-field single in the ninth that scored two more runs. Lewis hitting .448 and has a .500 OBP.
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