By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
SEATTLE — A couple of Seattle Mariners who already have had their ups and downs in relatively short major league careers were up on Thursday.
Carlos Peguero hit the third-longest home run in Safeco Field history, and Brandon Maurer picked up his second career win as the Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-0.
“Maurer really set the tone,” manager Eric Wedge said. “He threw a great ball game. He did a great job of using all his pitches, of executing pitches. He was down when he wanted to be down and elevated when he wanted to elevate. He was on and off the plate when he wanted to be, too. He did a great job.”
But even as Maurer set the tone, he admitted he got a boost from Peguero’s 451-foot home run that put the Mariners ahead in the third inning.
After falling behind 0-2, Peguero worked the count full and then sent a low slider on a ride that ended with a thump against the batters’ eye wall beyond the center field fence.
“I follow it,” Peguero said. “Always as a hitter you want to see how far you hit it.”
According to the Mariners, it was the third-longest home run ever hit at Safeco Field. The longest was 462 feet, hit by Barry Bonds off Felix Hernandez on June 16, 2006. The longest Safeco Field home run by a Mariner was a 460-footer struck by Raul Ibanez in 2007.
“I don’t know how they measure that, but that’s a long way,” Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager said. “That’s pretty tough to top … two-thirds of the way up the batter’s eye. I haven’t even got one out to center in batting practice, and he’s hitting it off the batter’s eye.”
Wedge noticed the distance along with everyone else. But what he really appreciated was the entire at-bat, especially coming from a player who showed little plate discipline in short visits to the big leagues in 2011 and 2012. His latest call from Triple-A Tacoma came Tuesday, when Franklin Gutierrez was put on the disabled list. Peguero was hitting .246 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 17 games with the Rainiers.
“You watch him take BP,” Wedge said. “He’s really committed to staying on the ball and being more disciplined and just really working hard to try to get better. Everybody knows what kind of talent this young man has, but just for him to tighten everything up and reel everything in is what he’s working on.”
After Peguero’s blast, the Mariners (9-15) added a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Jason Baydrove in two runs and Endy Chavez slapped three singles. Seager, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games with three hits, hit a home run to right in the eighth.
It added up to more than enough for Maurer, who improved his record to 2-3 after opening his Major League career with a pair of disastrous losses in which he allowed 12 earned runs over his first 6 2⁄3 innings.
On Thursday, facing a lineup including the likes of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, he went 6 1⁄3 innings and dropped his earned-run average from 7.45 to 5.61.
“He learned a great deal from those first two starts,” Wedge said. “That’s typical of a young starting pitcher with ability. You still have to get up here and see things for yourself and learn a great deal early on … and really throughout the course of your rookie season.”
Maurer learned a lot, too.
“Definitely no mistakes, because that’s what they hit,” he said. “Be sure to keep the ball down, keep it on the outside, put a little sink on it, change speeds and go right after them.”
Carter Capps and Tom Wilhelmsen finished off the victory from there.
Garrett Richards took the loss for the Angels (8-13).
The game was played before an announced crowd of 13,000.