SEATTLE — The security guys at Safeco Field know how the Seattle Mariners felt Friday night.
It took them several minutes to chase down a man who weaved his way through the outfield wearing nothing but a red Speedo and orange sneakers in the sixth inning, but at least they eventually flagged down the fan.
The Mariners had no such luck with speedy outfielder Mike Trout, who ran wild on the bases while scoring three runs to help the Angels to a 9-1 victory, their eighth win in 10 games.
Dan Haren delivered one of his best starts of the season, allowing one unearned run and five hits in seven innings, and his defense turned two superb double plays, as the Angels kept pace in the American League wild-card race, remaining 31/2 games behind Baltimore for the second spot. Kendrys Morales crushed a three-run homer in the first, his 18th of the season and sixth in 18 at-bats against the Mariners, and Torii Hunter had four hits, giving him 10 hits in three games and pushing his average to .304.
The Angels tacked on three runs in the ninth on Erick Aybar's triple, Alberto Callaspo's RBI double and Bobby Wilson's two-run homer. But it was Trout, the rookie phenom, who left his footprints all over Safeco Field, chasing down several balls in the outfield and scoring from second on an infield single.
“Speed kills,” Hunter said. “When you get a guy like that on base, it just creates havoc for pitchers, for infielders, for outfielders. His speed is unbelievable.”
After Morales' homer — it marked the fifth straight game the Angels have scored in the first inning — Trout flummoxed the Mariners with his speed in the second.
With two outs, Trout chopped a grounder to third baseman Kyle Seager, who rushed his throw wide of first for an error. Hunter followed with a grounder up the middle that shortstop Brendan Ryan snagged, but Ryan's flip to second had no chance to catch Trout. Albert Pujols sent another grounder toward the middle that Ryan got his glove on, but Trout never slowed around third and scored his 104th run, setting a franchise rookie record.
“Speed is a big part of Mike's talent — he's a catalyst,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He pressures clubs. Seager had to get rid of that ball very quickly at third.”
Trout walked and scored in the fourth for a 5-1 lead and singled, stole second and scored in the sixth for a 6-1 lead, providing plenty of support for Haren, who won for the first time since July 27 and improved to 6-2 with a 1.82 earned-run average in 11 career starts in Safeco Field.
Haren, who was so ineffective he was skipped in the rotation earlier this month, had his best game of the year here on May 24, throwing a three-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts. The right-hander wasn't as dominant Friday night — he struck out three, walked none, and his fastball topped out at 89 mph — but he retired 12 in a row from the third through seventh innings.
“After a couple of bad games, there are always doubts in your head, but I felt really good tonight,” Haren (9-10) said. “For the first time in a while, I got in a groove where I was attacking the zone and wasn't afraid of contact. I felt like my old self again.”