Jared Walsh hits two home runs in Angels’ rout of Mariners – Daily Bulletin

Jared Walsh’s career got off to an uneven start. He made a smashing debut in 2019, but spent the season shuffling ― between the Triple-A and Anaheim, between the pitcher’s mound and first base.

Walsh flashed enough potential late in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season to collect some down-ballot American League Rookie of the Year votes. Until now, however, he’s never had a chance to show what he could do as the Angels’ everyday right fielder.

Saturday, Walsh went 4 for 4 with two home runs in a 10-5 win over the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park.

The 27-year-old is batting .360 with a team-leading 21 RBIs. The longer he keeps it up, the less it looks like a fluke.

“This is not a flash in the pan,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “This guy is that good.”

Saturday’s lopsided win put the Angels (13-12) in position to win five of 10 games on their longest road trip of the season. They’ll turn to Dylan Bundy in the series finale Sunday before heading home.

Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon hit one home run apiece in support of starter Griffin Canning (2-2).

Walsh wasted little time announcing his presence.

Mariners starter Ljay Newsome (1-1) walked Shohei Ohtani in the first inning, then unwisely piped a fastball to Trout. The 411-foot home run was Trout’s seventh this season.

With two outs, Walsh waited on an 0-and-1 changeup from Newsome, and stroked it to the opposite field for a home run.

“It’s always good in your first at-bat to get a hit, let alone a home run,” he said.

Up 3-0, the Angels weren’t done. Jose Iglesias and Max Stassi led off the second inning with consecutive singles. They advanced to second and third on a bunt by David Fletcher.

Newsome walked Trout intentionally, only to serve up a double to Rendon that cleared the bases. Walsh followed with his second home run of the game, this one to right field, and the Angels led 8-0.

“I love that he hates striking out,” Maddon said of Walsh. “That’s why you’re seeing the ball shooting all over the field. You’re seeing extreme power with the ability to hit for average too.”

Walsh wasn’t in the Angels’ lineup on Opening Day. Dexter Fowler started in right field that day, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury on April 9. Juan Lagares was the next man up.

When Lagares suffered an injury soon after, Walsh became the primary right fielder. He has since emerged as the Angels’ second-best hitter. Lagares was activated from the injured list Friday but returned to the alternate site to collect at-bats.

Maddon said he’s less surprised by Walsh’s torrid hitting than his aptitude in right field, having played only 16 major-league innings there prior to this season.

“I’ve played right field a lot,” Walsh said. “I played it growing up, some in high school, college, even in the minor leagues, but you’ve got to continue to prove yourself. It was good to get some games under the belt. It’s always a work in progress.”

After two innings Saturday, Canning’s margin for error was larger than the Churchill Downs infield. He took advantage of the space, coloring the strike zone with aggression. Of the 22 batters Canning faced, only two saw a 2-and-0 count, and only one got to 3-and-0.

In 5 ⅓ innings, Canning didn’t allow an earned run, lowering his ERA from 8.40 to 6.20. Of his 93 pitches, 23 resulted in a swing and miss. The Mariners were the first opponent Canning kept in the ballpark after allowing six homers in his first four games.

“I had just gotten away from what makes me good and what makes me kind of deceptive,” Canning said.

More specifically, Canning went back to lifting his hands over his head during his windup. He said the simple change led to better rhythm on the mound.

“For whatever reason (it) syncs me up and allows me to be free in everything I’m doing,” he said.

Rendon’s first three-hit game of the season snapped a 2 for 16 slump since he returned from the injured list. His two-run home run in the fourth inning was his second of the season.

Relievers Alex Claudio, Steve Cishek and Mike Mayers kept the Mariners at bay until the ninth inning, when Ben Rowen surrendered a two-run home run to Mitch Haniger to complete the scoring.

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