ANAHEIM, Calif. — The last time the Los Angeles Angels faced Taijuan Walker, they had their way with him and knocked him out of the game in the first inning.
On Tuesday night, they barely got any hits off him.
Walker pitched a three-hitter for his first career shutout as the Seattle Mariners beat the Angels 8-0 to win their season-high seventh straight.
In his last start against Los Angeles on Sept 3, Walker gave up five earned runs in only two-thirds of an inning, his shortest start of the season.
“It was night and day the way we faced him up in Seattle a couple weeks ago,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He had good stuff, good command. He pitched a good game for them.”
Following that start 10 days earlier, Seattle pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre helped Walker change his mechanics.
The change paid off, as he was also able to strike out Mike Trout three times Tuesday. Coming into the game, Trout was hitting .818 with three home runs and six RBI against Walker.
Kaleb Cowart spoiled Walker’s perfect game bid when he reached on throwing error by shortstop Ketel Marte with two outs in the sixth inning.
Walker (6-10) still had a no-hitter going, until Kole Calhoun came through with a leadoff single through the right side in the seventh inning. Only two balls left the infield until that hit. Walker matched a career high with 11 strikeouts — the fifth time he’s reached that mark. It was his first complete game since July 31, 2015.
“My legs were getting heavy, my stomach was starting to tingle,” Walker said. “The game was so long, it was taking forever. The offense was going out there every single inning and getting hits and I was just like, ‘Ugh, this is getting longer.’ But right after I went out there and gave up the hit I felt really good. I got a chance to go from the stretch and I feel really good going from the stretch.”
Nelson Cruz and Norichika Aoki hit home runs and Seth Smith hit a grand slam to close the scoring.
Angels rookie Alex Meyer (0-3) gave up four earned runs and five hits over four innings in his fourth major league appearance.
“I’ve just got to do a better job of mixing in off-speed earlier,” Meyer said. “I tried to do too much with my fastball early on, especially when I was behind. They were jumping all over that and I wasn’t able to throw it by anybody tonight.”
Smith’s grand slam, his second this season, came off of reliever Mike Morin with two outs in the sixth. He drove Morin’s 1-1 off-speed offering over the scoreboard and into the right field stands.
The Mariners hit Meyer — acquired from Minnesota along with Ricky Nolasco at the trade deadline — hard from the beginning. Cruz launched a massive two-run shot that nearly reached the concourse in left field in the first inning and Leonys Martin scored on sac fly in the second before Aoki’s home run, making the score 4-0.
“The ball to Cruz was supposed to be a fastball away and it came back over the middle of the plate,” Meyer said. “I didn’t get any swing and miss on my fastball tonight, which was not ideal. I threw a lot more changeups tonight than I ever have in a start.”
Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs will miss his start with left forearm soreness and will undergo an MRI. Skaggs had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and was slated to make his 10th start since his return. Manager Mike Scioscia said the MRI is precautionary given his injury history. SS Andrelton Simmons remained out of the lineup for the second straight day with a bruised right hand. Simmons injured the hand in Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers and is day-to-day.
Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma will take the mound in the series finale. Iwakuma has lost his last two straight starts against Los Angeles but is 8-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) against the Angels.
Angels: RHP Jhoulys Chacin will take Skaggs’ place in the rotation. Chacin will come out of the bullpen to make his 14th start of the season. He’s 3-6 with a 6.54 ERA as a starter.