Smoak leads Mariners past Angels
Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - One of the biggest questions during the spring for the Seattle Mariners was who could provide protection behind their coveted offseason acquisition Robinson Cano.
They may have their answer.
Justin Smoak ripped a three-run double as part of a Seattle four-run third inning and the Mariners beat the LA Angels of Anaheim, 8-3, in the middle test of a season-opening three-game set.
The 27-year-old Smoak, who is already 4-for-8 with a homer, two doubles and six RBI in two games, has yet to live up to lofty expectations in Seattle after it acquired the 11th overall pick in the 2008 Draft from the Texas Rangers as part of the Cliff Lee deal on July 9, 2010.
Smoak tallied just three RBI over his first 20 games last season and didn't smack his first double until the 14th game. He finished 2013 hitting .238 with 20 homers and 50 RBI.
Brad Miller cracked a pair of homers, while Erasmo Ramirez (1-0) struck out six and allowed two runs on six hits over seven frames for Seattle, which won the season opener 10-3 on Monday night.
Cano went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
C.J. Wilson (0-1) surrendered six runs on eight hits and two walks while fanning eight for the Angels, who have started 0-2 for the first time since 2001. Raul Ibanez belted a two-run shot in defeat.
"C.J. got close to getting out of the third, but he couldn't get that last out. Those guys got a lot of two-out hits," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Dustin Ackley and John Buck preceded Abraham Almonte's double to left in the third, which brought Ackley home to open the scoring. After Miller struck out, Wilson intentionally walked Cano to bring up Smoak, who cleared the bases after lining a one-hop double into the gap in left-center to make it 4-0.
"I knew they were going to walk Cano," Smoak said. "I just went up there to get the job done. We're getting big at-bats with guys on base."
Ibanez's two-run blast to center in the fourth cut the deficit in half, but Miller smacked a solo shot to right-center in the fifth and Ackley added an RBI double in the sixth to increase the margin to 6-2.
Albert Pujols scored on Cano's relay throw to first in the eighth following a botched double-play attempt and Miller hit his second longball in the ninth, a two-run shot, to finish the scoring.
Seattle was 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position, while the Angels finished 1-for-8 with RISP ... Wilson had an 8-2 mark with a 2.14 ERA and 77 strikeouts over 11 starts against Seattle coming in.
04/02 01:52:25 ET