SEATTLE — Something about the big moments brings out the best in Mitch Haniger.
His two-run home run in the ninth inning on Wednesday, after a stellar defensive play in the top of the frame, gave the Seattle Mariners an 8-6 victory and a sweep of the three-game series over the Los Angeles Angels.
“We have such a powerful lineup,” Haniger said. “On any given night it can be somebody else and that’s kind of the vibe. There’s no panic.”
Haniger, who has 16 home runs and 52 RBI this season, has an MLB-best 11 game-winning hits — including his second game-ending homer on Wednesday.
After Jean Segura singled to center off reliever Oliver Drake (0-1), Haniger sent a pitch over the left-field wall to end it.
Nelson Cruz and Ryon Healy also homered for Seattle, and Healy’s upper-deck shot in the eighth inning tied the game at 6-6. Cruz hit a two-run homer in the second inning, his fourth in his past five games and 16th of the season.
The home run by Haniger, who was 2-for-5 and scored two runs, was his second big play of the ninth inning. He also made an outstanding defensive play in right field for the second consecutive game.
With one out and a runner at first, Martin Maldonado hit fly ball to deep right that was tailing away from Haniger. However, he raced to make the catch before throwing it on the fly to Healy in the infield. Healy ran to first to double off Jabari Blash, who was pinch running for Albert Pujols.
The Mariners have won six of their past seven games, 11 of their past 13 and are now a season-high 20 games over .500. Roenis Elias (2-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief, and Seattle starter Marco Gonzales allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings.
Wednesday’s game had plenty of drama — including two times when the game was tied and two lead changes.
“I don’t know where to start with this game,” said Seattle manager Scott Servais. “It had a little bit of everything in it.”
Seattle built a 4-1 lead in the third inning and led 4-3 before the Angels came back to tie it in sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Luis Valbuena. Home runs by Nolan Fontana and Chris Young gave the Angels a 6-4 lead in the seventh.
The Angels had won six consecutive games before coming to Seattle.
“It says a lot the way our guys came back,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “But unfortunately it was one of those days when our bullpen was stretched a bit after having to use them a lot, and we couldn’t get it done at the end.”
Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager was a late scratch from the starting lineup Wednesday, but he is not injured. Mariners officials said it was a personal issue, and Andrew Romine started at third in his place.