Angels’ offense gets going early in rout of Seattle Mariners

Jared Walsh had been asked a question about himself.

But he couldn’t help but comment on the entire Angels lineup.

“Unbelievable,” he said after the team’s 10-5 thumping of the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, speaking to the team’s television broadcast. “It just shows how potent our lineup is when everyone’s healthy. That was pretty special.”

The Angels scored three runs in the first, five in the second and two more in the fourth to quickly pull away in Saturday’s blowout, outhitting their hosts 13-7 while also getting 5 1/3 strong innings from starting pitcher Griffin Canning.

The Angels (13-12) opened the scoring in the first. Mike Trout clobbered a center-cut, 92-mph fastball well over the center-field wall for a two-run blast. Then Walsh went deep for a solo shot the other way two at-bats later.

They got only better from there.

In the second, José Iglesias and Max Stassi led off with singles, then moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt from David Fletcher. Shohei Ohtani hit a ground ball to score Iglesias, and Trout was intentionally walked to put runners at first and second.

That’s when the Angels delivered the knockout blow, a 1-2 combination from Anthony Rendon and Walsh.

First, Rendon laced a double into left-center, scoring Stassi and Trout. Walsh did even better, crushing his second home run of the game into the right-field seats on the very next pitch.

“Just got some pitches over the plate,” Walsh said after finishing with a career-high four hits. “Wanted to do a little damage with them.”

When Canning returned to the mound for the bottom of the second, his start only 12 pitches old, his offense had already built him an 8-0 lead. It would be more than enough, with the right-hander giving up only a lone unearned run.

After the right-hander was knocked around in his previous start, giving up six runs in fewer than three innings against the Houston Astros last weekend, Canning was given simple instructions by manager Joe Maddon on Saturday.

“I just like when he attacks,” Maddon said. “He just needs to really command that fastball in order to have everything play off of it.”

Canning did just that against the Mariners (15-13). He struck out nine batters, second-most in his career, and induced 23 swings-and-misses, a personal best. At one point, he found the zone on 13 straight pitches. And he issued only two walks while also yielding just three hits.

Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning gave up one unearned run and three hits in 5⅓ innings Saturday.

Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning gave up one unearned run and three hits in 5⅓ innings Saturday. He struck out nine and walked two.

(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

His fastball was good, accounting for 12 of those whiffs. But his secondary stuff was strong too, especially a slider he used it to finish off five of his strikeouts.

Canning’s explanation for Saturday’s success was simple. He simply had a better feel on the mound, from how he was mixing his pitches to his decision to bring back an over-the-head wind-up for the first time this season.

“Everybody can tell me that my stuff is good and I can throw the ball over the middle and it’s not going to get hit,” Canning said. “But I’m a feel pitcher. So if something feels a little off, it feels like a bigger deal than it might be. For whatever reason, the over-the-head syncs everything up for me.”

The Angels tacked on a couple more runs in the fourth inning on Rendon’s two-run homer, giving them more than enough cushion when the Mariners scored a pair in the eighth and ninth innings. After going 0 for 8 in his first two games back from injury at the start of the week, Rendon has five hits and seven RBIs in his past four contests.

But in a lineup that also includes Trout, Ohtani and Walsh, he’s hardly the only streaking Angel.

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