It seems strange — doesn’t it? — that the Mariners’ formula for beating the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field starts with serving up a three-run homer to Mike Trout in the first inning.
Whatever works, though. And right now, after a miserable late August collapse, the Mariners need anything that works.
So Ariel Miranda surrendered Trout’s homer and, on cue, the Mariners stormed back for an 11-8 victory by scoring nine runs in the second inning and cruising home in front of a Girls Night Out crowd.
Trout has three-run homers in the first inning in three of his last four games at Safeco Field. Each time, the Mariners rallied to win. (They won the other game, too.)
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Dae-Ho Lee started that nine-run explosion with a leadoff single against LA starter Brett Oberholtzer (1-1) and added a two-run single later in the inning against reliever Jhoulys Chacin.
Ketel Marte also contributed two hits in the party — an RBI single against Oberholtzer that provided the inning’s first run and a two-run single against Chacin that capped the outburst.
The victory snapped a five-game skid and enabled the Mariners to remain four games behind Baltimore and Detroit in the race for the American League’s final wild-card berth. They have 26 games remaining.
Miranda (2-1) recovered from a disastrous four-run first inning by allowing nothing more before handing a six-run lead to the bullpen in the seventh inning.
Nick Vincent worked a one-two-three seventh, and Evan Scribner, in his season debut, did the same in the eighth. Scribner was activated Thursday from the disabled list after suffering a torn back muscle in spring training.
Arquimedes Caminero gave up two runs in the ninth inning before Dan Altavilla got the final out.
It sure didn’t start well.
Yunel Escobar opened the game by battling his way to a 10-pitch walk against Miranda, who then yielded a single to Kole Calhoun on a 1-2 pitch.
Trout launched his three-run homer. He victimized Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker on Aug. 5-6 before the Mariners rallied for 6-4 and 8-6 victories.
Miranda retired the next two hitters before Jefry Marte crushed a 1-2 pitch for a line-drive homer to left field for a 4-0 lead.
The Mariners answered. Tentatively at first.
Ben Gamel walked in his first plate appearance as a Mariner and came all the way around — and easily — on Guillermo Heredia’s double into the left-field corner.
Oberholtzer steadied by striking out Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz before retiring Kyle Seager on a pop to right field.
It was a temporary reprieve because the Mariners absolutely unloaded against Oberholtzer and Chacin in the second. First, they loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning on a single and two walks.
Marte flicked an RBI single into right field that made it 4-2, turned over the lineup and finished Oberholtzer.
In came Chacin, who forced in a run by walking Gamel before Heredia’s hard grounder to third turned into two runs and a 5-4 lead.
Escobar corralled the grounder and got a force at second as Mike Zunino scored the tying run. Second baseman Gregorio Petit then made a wild throw to first that permitted Marte to score.
All five runs were charged to Oberholtzer.
The Mariners weren’t done.
They reloaded the bases with two outs on a single and an intentional walk for Lee, who delivered his second single of the inning. This one scored two runs for a 7-4 lead.
Another walk reloaded the bases before Zunino grounded an RBI single through the left side. Marte then drove a two-run single to right, and it was 10-4.
The nine-run inning matched a season best. The Mariners scored nine runs in the seventh inning on June 2 in a 16-13 victory at San Diego. That was the game where they overcame a 12-2 deficit.
It stayed 10-4 until the eighth inning, when Cruz, back in the lineup after missing two games because of a sore hand, led off with a homer, his 33rd, against Deolis Guerra.
PLAY OF THE GAME: The Mariners led 10-4 when Gregorio Petit tried to stretch a leadoff single into a double in the fifth inning. So it wasn’t a key play in the game.
But Guillermo Heredia’s on-target throw from left field is the kind of defense the Mariners haven’t often received this year from their outfield corners.
Umpire Alfonso Marquez called Petit safe, and it was close, but the Mariners challenged, and a replay review overturned the call.
It was Heredia’s second career assist. His other one came Aug. 6 against the Angels at Safeco when he double-upped Johnny Giavotella at first base.
STAT PACK: Mike Trout has six homers this season in 14 games against the Mariners. He has 20 in 118 games against everyone else.
SHORT HOPS: The Mariners hit double figures in runs for the 10th time.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners