ANAHEIM (AP) — David Freese led off the ninth inning with a homer to center, and the Los Angeles Angels kept pace in the AL wild-card race with their fourth straight victory, 3-2 over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.
Freese hit his third career walk-off homer in a regular-season game, connecting off Danny Farquhar (1-5). The 2011 World Series MVP — who Game 6 that year with an extra-innings homer — set off a wild celebration on an eventful night for the Angels (80-74), who stayed a half-game behind Houston for the second wild-card spot.
Mike Trout made a jaw-dropping catch high above the center field wall in the fourth inning, robbing Jesus Montero of a three-run homer.
Angels closer Huston Street then had to be helped off the field in obvious pain after finishing his follow-through on a pitch in the ninth inning.
Rookie Ketel Marte hit his first major league homer for the Mariners, who have lost four straight.
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez yielded eight hits and two runs, but likely lost the chance to win 20 games for the first time in his impressive career when he left a tied game before the seventh. The Seattle ace has 18 victories, but is expected to get only one more start this season.
C.J. Cron homered for the second straight night for Los Angeles, connecting for the tying shot in the sixth inning.
Jose Alvarez and Fernando Salas (4-2) each got one out with gutsy performances in place of Street, who leads the AL with 40 saves.
Street faced two batters in the ninth before doubling over in pain when he threw the pitch that led to Franklin Gutierrez’s groundout. Los Angeles already is without Joe Smith, their second-best reliever and eighth-inning specialist, after he sprained his ankle on a hotel staircase.
Rookie Andrew Heaney gave up five hits and two runs in six innings for the Angels.
Hernandez didn’t look sharp while the Angels got nine baserunners and five hits in the first two innings, but Los Angeles left the bases loaded twice and managed just one run on David Murphy’s sacrifice fly.
Marte put the Mariners up 2-1 in the third inning with a shot to left. The 21-year-old Dominican shortstop hit his first homer in his 50th game since his big league debut July 31.
Heaney found more trouble in the fourth, but Trout flabbergasted the crowd at Angel Stadium and saved three runs when he sprinted into deep center field chasing a drive by Montero.
The AL MVP stuck his cleat in the wall and then boosted himself even higher with his throwing arm on top of the fence, extending his arm and reaching back to snare Montero’s drive. Trout, whose parents happened to be in town, got two standing ovations.
Cron tied it with his 16th homer.
Mariners: Vidal Nuno will start on three days’ rest Tuesday against Houston, filling in for James Paxton, who has a torn fingernail.
Angels: Manager Mike Scioscia hasn’t decided whether Tuesday’s starter will be Nick Tropeano or Matt Shoemaker, who has a stiff forearm.
Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma (9-4, 3.67 ERA) is 7-2 in his last 10 starts.
Angels: Jered Weaver (7-12, 4.86 ERA) makes the final regular-season home start of his worst big league season.
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