SEATTLE (AP) - The Los Angeles Angels caught Brandon Maurer at a bad time.
The Seattle Mariners rookie right-hander, making his fifth start, quieted the veteran Angels lineup with a 6-0 victory Thursday night.
Maurer (2-3) went 6 1-3 innings to pick up the victory. He allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked one.
Maurer had started the season teetering between the big leagues and a demotion back to the minors. He pitched poorly in his first two starts, losing both and posting a 16.20 ERA. In his past three starts, including Thursday, Maurer is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA.
``He had a tight slider and kept us off balance early,' said Mike Trout, who went 1-for-4. ``He's got great stuff. You can't take that away from him. 95 with the fastball. Pretty hard with the slider and with a change and curveball. That's four-plus pitches.'
Josh Hamilton, who also singled in his four at_bats, added, ``it seemed like he kept the righties off balance from the first inning. He showed he had 95 then he went back to his sinkerball and if he needed to come in with a little run on it, he would be at 93-94.
``He did a good job. The name of the game is keeping guys off balance.'
The Mariners, who had scored more than three runs just three times in the past 15 games, got jump-started by Carlos Peguero's third-inning mammoth home run. In his first at-bat this season - as he was promoted from Triple-A Tacoma Tuesday - he hit a 451-foot shot, the third longest in Safeco Field history.
Peguero broke a scoreless tie on a 3-2 pitch from Garrett Richards (1-1). The only two longer home runs in the stadium's 12 1/2-year history were 462 feet by San Francisco's Barry Bonds (June 16, 2006) and 460 feet by Mariners' Raul Ibanez (June 20, 2007).
It's believed Peguero is the second player ever to hit the centerfield batter's eye. The other was Mike Napoli in 2008.
``That was pretty impressive. He hit the batter's eye,' said Kyle Seager, who had three hits, including a two-run home run. ``What they say 450(1)? I don't know how they measure that but that's a long way. That's pretty tough to top.
``Anytime you see the first at-bat of the year and he hits it two-thirds up the batter's eye...I haven't even got one to center field in BP.'
Richards went seven innings, allowing nine hits and five runs. He walked two and struck out five.
``I thought Garrett pitched much better than his line scores will show,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``He had a chance to put some hitters away but he wasn't able to do it early.
``As far as him getting after it and the movement on his pitches, he was terrific. It didn't work out tonight, but I thought he pitched a strong game and definitely kept us in it.'
Richards was coming off his first big-league victory last Saturday against Detroit. He went seven innings against the Tigers, allowing two hits, no runs, striking out eight and walking no one in a 10-0 victory.
The Mariners were coming off a 1-5 road trip in which they scored just three runs or fewer in all their losses, including two shutouts. Their 10-3 loss to Houston Wednesday prompted manager Eric Wedge to hold a closed-door meeting after the game.
``He gave a nice talk. He got everyone's attention,' Seager said. ``We know we had to play better. We played with more of an edge today.'
Seager extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. That matches the longest streak in the majors this season, as Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro and Philadelphia's Michael Young each had 14. Seager is hitting .412 (21 of 51) during his streak. He moved his average from .147 to .306. It also was his third three-hit game this season.
Jason Bay had two hits and two RBI and Endy Chavez had three hits.
That initial lead was provided by Peguero's power.
``I fell behind, 0-2 count,' Peguero said. ``Then I just tried to make contact with the ball, hopefully, put a good swing on that ball. And that happened.'
Notes: The Mariners are dealing with a series of injuries to key players. OF Michael Saunders (right AC joint) likely will be sent out to Tacoma Friday to rehab. OF Franklin Gutierrez (right hamstring), placed on the DL Thursday, has a grade 1 strain, based on Thursday's MRI. He could be out two to three weeks. Also, OF Michael Morse (non-displaced right pinkie finger fracture) is playing through the pain, although hitting just .162 since his injury (April 16). ``We're dinged up. It is what it is,' Mariners' manager Eric Wedge said. ... Angels also have a healthy list of key unavailable players. RHP Tommy Hanson, on bereavement leave, is expected to start Monday against Oakland. ``We're penciling him in on Monday. We'll get more clarity within the next 48 hours,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. SS Erick Aybar (left heel contusion) played five innings in the minors on his way back. He'll be evaluated Friday. 2B Alberto Callaspo (right calf strain) is eligible to come off the DL this weekend.
The Associated Press News Service
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