SEATTLE (AP) – Kole Calhoun and César Puello homered, Mike Trout had three RBIs and the Los Angeles Angels battered Yusei Kikuchi for six early runs in a 9-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.
The highly anticipated first matchup in the majors between Japanese stars Kikuchi and Shohei Ohtani was quashed when Ohtani was given the night off by Angels manager Brad Ausmus. Even without Ohtani in the lineup, Los Angeles handed Kikuchi (3-3) a second straight miserable outing. The rookie gave up 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings, same as his previous game against Oakland. He failed to strike out a batter for the first time in 13 big league starts.
Kikuchi’s problems started immediately with Albert Pujols’ RBI single in the first after the left-hander opened the game with consecutive walks. Calhoun led off the second with his 11th home run and Puello followed an inning later with his second in eight at-bats since being brought up from Triple-A Salt Lake.
Trout ended Kikuchi’s night with a two-run double in the fourth.
The Angels used Luis Garcia as an opener, but it was Félix Peña (3-1) shutting down the Mariners after Garcia’s one inning. Peña threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and three runs. Tim Beckham hit a two-run homer, his 11th of the season, and later drove in another run on a groundout.
Peña is 3-0 with a 3.13 ERA in six games when the Angels have used an opener and Peña has followed.
Ausmus said matchups were the reason for not playing Ohtani. Seattle is set to throw three left-handed starters in the series and Ausmus had planned to rest Ohtani for one of the three games. Ohtani had five previous at-bats against Kikuchi in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, with two hits and three strikeouts.
Angels: RHP JC Ramirez is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire on Friday. Ramirez is working his way back from Tommy John surgery.
Mariners: RHP Hunter Strickland (lat) will throw a bullpen this weekend. Strickland will likely need a couple of bullpen sessions and a rehab assignment before rejoining the bullpen. … RHP Felix Hernandez (shoulder) is expected to throw a bullpen early next week.
Angels: Tyler Skaggs (4-4) threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings but did not get a decision in his last start. Skaggs is 2-2 with a 4.26 ERA in nine career starts vs. Seattle.
Mariners: Mike Leake (3-6) has lost six of his last seven decisions. Leake allowed five earned runs last time out in a loss to Oakland.