SEATTLE – Ty France hit a two-run homer into the left-field bullpen in the third inning, George Kirby pitched six solid innings and the Seattle Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 2-1 Saturday to open a doubleheader.
France’s homer came with two outs against starter Jaime Barria (1-2) and erased a one-run lead that came from Mickey Moniak’s second-inning RBI single.
The go-ahead blast, which was France’s 300th hit with the Mariners, came one day after he had a tying single in the ninth during a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Angels.
France has 14 homers on the season.
“That I was able to pull a hanging slider just shows that I was on time for a fastball,” France said. “That is the biggest key. If I can get on-time for a fastball, I’m going to be in a good spot, and I feel like I’m getting there again.”
Barria, making his first start of the season, went 4 2/3 innings while allowing three hits, two earned runs and four walks with three strikeouts.
He was pulled after 76 pitches in favor of right-hander Mike Mayers after loading the bases with back to back walks in the fifth. Mayers retired Eugenio Suarez on a pop-out to end the threat.
“I love what I saw,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “Mike was able to come in and get him out of the fifth, but for him to go that far and for those two guys to get the load on this game, it really helps us for Game 2.”
Kirby (3-3) pitched well after a bumpy second inning, allowing six hits, one earned run and no walks with eight strikeouts. Saturday’s outing was the third time this season Kirby has pitched at least six innings and allowed no walks.
The six-inning outing was Kirby’s second win since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on July 23. The Mariners optioned Kirby to Tacoma on July 9 to limit the rookie’s workload.
“He’s looked great,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “After we shut him down and gave him a little breather, he has come back and has thrown very well. The velo is still there, the secondary stuff is there, and he has looked strong. That is exactly what we need out of him going forward.”
Andres Munoz struck out three in relief, and Erik Swanson pitched the ninth for his third save.
Mariners LHP Brennan Bernardino was added to the roster as the Mariners’ 27th man. Bernardino made his major league debut for the Mariners on July 31 at Houston after being signed earlier this year out of the Mexican League.
RHP Oliver Ortega was the 27th man for the Angels.
Mariners: OF Mitch Haniger (ankle) was back in the clubhouse before the first game on Saturday and could be activated in time for Game 2. Haniger has been out since April 30 with a high right ankle sprain.
Angels: INF David Fletcher (foot) will play in Saturday’s nightcap after sitting out the past two games with a foot injury.
Mariners: RHP Chris Flexen (7-8, 3.73) will pitch the second game for Seattle. Flexen allowed three hits and two earned runs against the Astros in his last start on July 30.
Angels: LHP Reid Detmers (3-3, 3.63) is on the mound for the Angels in the nightcap. Detmers allowed just three hits and one earned run over seven innings on July 31 against Texas.
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