Tommy La Stella hit two home runs and the Los Angeles Angels held on for an 8-6 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday to end a six-game losing streak.
Kevan Smith and Brian Goodwin also homered and Mike Trout hit two doubles for the Angels, who avoided a four-game sweep in the series with the Mariners. Jaime Barria (2-1) gave up one run in five innings.
Seattle lost for the second time in 13 road games to start the season, with Mike Leake (2-2) giving up four runs on three homers in six innings.
The Mariners created tension in the ninth inning when Tom Murphy cracked a two-run homer with one out, Dee Gordon immediately followed it up with a solo home run to right, and Mitch Haniger hit a two-run homer with two outs to pull within 8-6. Cody Allen walked Domingo Santana to bring Edwin Encarnacion up as the potential tying run before Luis Garcia got him to pop up to Justin Bour at first to end the game.
La Stella hit a solo homer off the video scoreboard in left to put the Angles up 3-1 in the fourth. He added another solo shot in the eighth inning to set a new career-high with his sixth home run of the season in 21 games. La Stella needed 73 games in 2017 with the Chicago Cubs to record his previous career-best five homers.
Smith gave the Angels a 2-0 lead in the second when he hit his first home run of the season just past the glove of a leaping Mallex Smith and over the wall in the deepest part of center field.
Santana cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third with a two-out single that allowed Haniger to score from second base.
Goodwin made it 4-1 in the sixth with a solo homer to center, and Bour and Andrelton Simmons each drove in a run in the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-1. Kole Calhoun doubled to score another run in the eighth for an 8-1 lead following La Stella’s second blast.
Hansel Robles threw a scoreless first inning before being replaced by Barria as the Angels became the latest team to employ an “opener.” Manager Brad Ausmus considered giving a reliever a start earlier this month against the Cubs, but those plans were scuttled because of bullpen usage.
Ausmus expects to continue using relievers as spot-starters, a trend that started last season when Tampa Bay sent closer Sergio Romo out in the first inning of consecutive games against the Angels in May.
Mariners: OF Jay Bruce did not start because of a sore quadricep but drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. . RHP Chasen Bradford (shoulder) threw a bullpen session Sunday and could be activated off the injured list to play in the two-game series against San Diego.
Angels: 1B Albert Pujols got the day off to rest. . LHP Tyler Skaggs (ankle) will throw one more bullpen session before being activated off the injured list. . Ausmus threw batting practice to DH Shohei Ohtani (elbow) on Saturday, but there is no updated timetable for the Japanese two-way star. “We’ve been pretty steadfast on sticking to his schedule and being cautious with him to avoid any long-term damage to his elbow,” Ausmus said.
Mariners: RHP Erik Swanson (0-1, 3.38 ERA) will make his first career road start at San Diego on Tuesday. Swanson took the loss against Cleveland on Wednesday after giving up one run in six innings.
Angels: RHP Matt Harvey (0-2, 9.64) will start against the New York Yankees on Monday in the opener of a four-game series. Harvey is 1-0 with a 1.25 ERA in three career starts against the Yankees.