With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Nick Margevicius was ahead in the count, 1-2, against future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols when he unleashed an 85 mph slider across the middle of the plate, down low on the edge of strike zone. Too low, apparently.
Margevicius didn’t get the strike-three call he was hoping for, and three pitches later Pujols lined a ground-rule double down the left-field line, driving in the tying run. That 1-2 miss was the crucial pitch, and the crucial at-bat, in the Mariners’ 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night at Angels Stadium.
“I thought I froze him right there,” Margevicius said, “but it’s on to the next pitch.”
Justin Upton drove in Pujols with the go-ahead run, making Margevicius the hard-luck loser in an otherwise strong start for the 24-year-old left-hander.
Margevicius threw a career-high 98 pitches and completed six innings in his third consecutive start, emerging as one of the most pleasant surprises of the season for the Mariners.
As an unheralded rookie for San Diego in 2019, Margevicius was 2-6 with 6.79 ERA. The Padres released him last winter, and the Mariners claimed him with little fanfare.
“Coming over to a new team, they didn’t really know who I was or what I was about,” he said. “I started off in the bullpen … so for them to leave me out there (as a starter now) in that situation, you know, I want to be the guy that the team wants on the mound. That’s important to me, and I’m really happy they showed that confidence in me.”
After opening the season in the bullpen, Margevicius has made four starts in August, with a 3.48 ERA over 20 2/3 innings. His final line Friday: six innings, seven hits, two runs, two walks and five strikeouts.
“I thought Marge threw the ball just awesome tonight,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It was an outstanding effort by him.”
Margevicius took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth after Sam Haggerty drove in J.P. Crawford from second base in the top half of the inning. Haggerty singled after failing to get down a sacrifice bunt to advance Crawford, who led off the inning with a double.
Andrew Heaney allowed only that one run over 7 2/3 innings for the Angels. He struck out 10, allowing just four hits.
“That’s the best we’ve seen Heaney in quite some time,” Servais said. “You’ve got to tip your hat — Heaney had really, really good stuff tonight.”
Mike Trout homered off Mariners right-hander Brady Lail to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. It was Trout’s 11th homer of the season and the 45th of his career against the Mariners.
Kyle Seager doubled off Ty Buttrey and scored on a Tim Lopes single with one out in the ninth inning, but rookie Jose Marmolejos was thrown out attempting to run from first to third. Shed Long then popped out to end it.
Walker set for Toronto debut
Taijuan Walker is scheduled to make his debut for the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, ending a turbulent week for the former Mariners pitcher.
Walker was a leading voice in the Mariners’ clubhouse Wednesday when the team voted to not play their game in San Diego that night in protest of racial injustice.
The next day, Walker was traded to Toronto for a player to be named later. That night, he found out from his father that his family “lost everything” when Hurricane Laura destroyed their home in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
“Pretty emotional for me and for them too,” Walker told Toronto reporters in a Zoom call Friday.
Walker, a free agent at the end of this season, was 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA in five starts for the Mariners this season.
White day to day
Rookie first baseman Evan White was not in the lineup Friday night, a day after a shoulder injury forced him to exit the first game of the Mariners’ doubleheader in San Diego.
White had an MRI on his ailing shoulder Friday morning. Results of that scan were not available, Servais said, but White reported to his manager that he was feeling much better.
Servais is hopeful White can return to the lineup this weekend.
- The Mariners’ beleaguered bullpen has been hit with another injury. Right-hander Matt Magill was placed on the 10-day injured list Friday because of a right-shoulder strain, making him the eighth Mariners reliever on the IL. Right-hander Zac Grotz was called up from the alternate training site to take Magill’s spot.
Editor’s note: The Times declined to send reporter Adam Jude to Anaheim, California, for this game because of COVID-19 safety concerns.