ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Albert Pujols hit two home runs to tie Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth place on the career list with 630, and the Los Angeles Angels rolled to an 11-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.
Tyler Skaggs pitched six strong innings for the Angels in his return from the disabled list. Pujols hit a two-run shot in the first and a solo drive in the sixth. He also had three hits to pass ex-Angel Rod Carew and move into a tie for 25th all-time with Rickey Henderson at 3,055.
It was the 50th multihomer game for Pujols, who went back-to-back with Justin Upton in the sixth.
David Fletcher also homered in the first off Mariners starter James Paxton, who left the game with lower back stiffness after Pujols connected. Paxton (8-4) gave up three runs and three hits in two-thirds of an inning, throwing just 17 pitches in his final start of the first half.
Skaggs (7-5), who missed nine games with a hamstring strain, gave up one run on five hits with five strikeouts and a walk. The left-hander has allowed one earned or less in six consecutive outings, the longest such streak from an Angels starter since George Brunet in 1968.
Fletcher hit the first home run of his career and gave the Angels their third leadoff home run this season. Ian Kinsler had the other two. Upton’s home run was his 18th and gave the Angels a commanding 8-1 lead in the sixth.
The Angels took two of three from Seattle and have won three of their past four series. The one they lost was last weekend in Seattle. The Angels had lost five of their last six against the Mariners before the series began.
The Mariners grabbed a 1-0 lead on Kyle Seager’s RBI single in the first inning, but it was all Angels after that.
After Fletcher’s homer, Pujols’ two-run shot gave the Angels a 3-1 advantage. Kole Calhoun made it 4-1 in the second on a sacrifice fly, and the Angels increased their lead to 5-1 in the fifth on an RBI single from Kinsler.
Mike Trout scored three runs and stole a base, making him the second player all-time, along with Joe Morgan in 1974, to compile 100 hits, 80 walks and 15 steals before the All-Star break.
Mariners infielder Andrew Romine entered as a pitcher in the eighth to face his former team and the right-hander retired Trout (fly ball) and Pujols (grounder) before giving up a two-run single to Kinsler, who had three hits.
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (bruised left calf) was getting treatment after he was hit by a comebacker Wednesday, and manager Scott Servais said the 10-game winner will be pushed to the back half of the rotation after next week’s All-Star break. … RHP Felix Hernandez (lower back stiffness) will come off the disabled list next week and pitch at the front of the rotation when the second half of the season begins.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards has elected Tommy John surgery over a conservative treatment option for his damaged ulnar collateral ligament and will miss the remainder of the season. … OF Chris Young (left hamstring strain) was given a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection but has not started baseball activity after he was placed on the 10-day disabled list July 4.
Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman, who threw seven scoreless innings May 16 in his only major league appearance this season, will be recalled Friday to start the series opener at Colorado.
Angels: One week after recording a career-best eight strikeouts against the Dodgers at home, right-hander Felix Pena (1-0, 3.63 ERA) will get another crack at them Friday in Los Angeles.
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