ANGELS (27-30) AT MARINERS (25-35)
7:15 p.m. ET; FOX, MLB.TV
As May came to a close, the Seattle Mariners finally found something to celebrate.
Jay Bruce become the eighth active player with 300 home runs and 300 doubles after hitting a solo shot in the seventh inning to provide what turned out to be the decisive run in a 4-3 victory against the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
That capped a month in which the Mariners went 7-21, the worst May in franchise history.
Bruce, who has 301 doubles and 300 homers in his 12-year career, will start his bid for No. 400 on Saturday when the Mariners and visiting Angels meet in a late-afternoon game at T-Mobile Park.
He joined the Mariners in a December trade with the New York Mets.
“If you’d have told me I’d hit my 300th homer playing first base for the Seattle Mariners, I’d probably have called you crazy,” the 32-year-old outfielder told MLB.com. “But you take what you can get. There’s no rhyme or reason.
“I’ve been welcomed by a great group of guys here, guys that have made me part of this thing, and I appreciate that and don’t take it for granted. You move around a lot. This is my fourth team now. It’s been an easy group of guys to transition with. It’s been good.”
Bruce joined teammate Edwin Encarnacion and the Angels’ Albert Pujols as active players in the 300-300 club, along with Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Ryan Braun and former Mariners Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz.
“I don’t let myself take a lot of time to think about that kind of stuff,” Bruce told MLB.com. “I’ll definitely look back and appreciate this moment for sure. I don’t take it for granted. I’m proud, but I tend to try to turn the page pretty quickly.”
Bruce is batting just .212 this season, but he has 14 homers.
“Three-hundred homers is hard to do,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s a personal achievement, and certainly Jay has been with a number of different teams, but it always helps when you win the ballgame and everybody is excited.
“Jay has been really good since he’s been here. Good teammate, and he’s taken a number of players under his wing. Even though he’s struggled at times, it’s good to see him going again. The home run has been there all year for him, and it was there again (Friday).”
The Angels’ Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani led off the sixth inning Friday with back-to-back homers. It was Trout’s 35th career homer against Seattle, his most against any opponent.
After Trout went deep, Ohtani hit the next pitch out.
“I was going to swing at the first pitch if it was over the plate,” Ohtani told MLB.com through an interpreter. “It caught a good part of the plate, so I was able to do it. I was kind of hiding under the shadow of Trout’s homer.”
Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney (0-0, 3.60 ERA) is scheduled to make his second start of the season Saturday against Mariners lefty Tommy Milone (1-1, 3.38). Heaney is 1-3 with a 3.76 ERA in seven career starts against Seattle; Milone is 6-3 with a 5.54 ERA in 13 starts vs. the Angels.
Heaney, who had been out since spring training due to left elbow inflammation, pitched five innings Sunday against the Texas Rangers and allowed only two hits — both solo homers. He struck out eight and walked one in a game the Angels rallied to win 7-6.
“He was outstanding,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “Starting pitching is such a big part of a baseball team’s ability to win games, and he makes our starting pitching better.”
Milone also last faced the Rangers — his opponent in both of his starts this year. He gave up two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings during a 6-2 win Monday.
–Field Level Media