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OC Register: Angels rout Mariners in successful return for Matt Harvey


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  • Mariners-Angels-Baseball-131.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols drops his bat as he watches his three-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc pauses on the mound during the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Los Angeles Angels starter Matt Harvey throws to a Seattle Mariners batter during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout follows through on a two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Seattle Mariners’ Mallex Smith, left, steals third base before the tag from Los Angeles Angels third baseman David Fletcher during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Seattle Mariners’ Mallex Smith, right, steals second base next to Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Seattle Mariners’ J.P. Crawford slides into second base with a double during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, right, is tagged out at second base by Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford as he tried to stretch a single into a double during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Kole Calhoun signals after hitting a solo home run against the Seattle Mariners during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Harvey throws to a Seattle Mariners batter during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols (5) walks in the dugout before the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, right, stretches next to teammate Mike Trout before the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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ANAHEIM — The Angels welcomed Matt Harvey back a day after they said goodbye to Tyler Skaggs.

Although the loss of Skaggs is certainly far more important than any impact it has on the Angels’ roster, the relentless season and the team’s slim playoff hopes nonetheless demand that they find quality starting pitching without Skaggs.

Harvey took his turn on Saturday night, returning from a seven-week absence to have an encouraging performance in the Angels’ 9-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners, which also included Mike Trout’s eighth homer in his last seven games.

Harvey gave up one run in 5-2/3 innings, a dramatic improvement from the type of performances that left him with a 7.50 ERA before he went on the injured list with a back problem.

The injury was resolved within a few weeks, so Harvey spent the rest of the time trying to diagnose the issues that had rendered him ineffective as a pitcher.

Harvey had lost some velocity from spring training until mid May, which he sought to rediscover by changing his mechanics.

On Saturday night, his average fastball was 92.3 mph. In his final start before going on the IL in May, the average was 91.9 mph. He induced just eight swings and misses on his 93 pitches, which is well below the league average of 12 percent.

The most important metric, however, is whether he got the hitters out, and he did that well enough.

Harvey worked around a double and a walk in the first inning. He retired the Mariners in order in the second and fifth. In between, the Angels turned two double plays to help him escape the third and fourth.

The Mariners finally got a run against Harvey in the sixth, when Mallex Smith led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly.

By then, though, he had a six-run lead thanks an an Angels offense that picked up where it left off after Friday night’s 13-run explosion in a no-hitter dedicated to Skaggs.

Kole Calhoun belted a second-inning homer just over the picture of Skaggs on the center field fence, putting the Angels up 2-0. It was the 20th homer of the season for Calhoun, and his career-high ninth against a left-handed pitcher.

An inning later, Trout blasted a two-run homer into the Angels bullpen, with Noé Ramírez snagging the baseball in his cap. It was Trout’s 30th homer of the year. Trout hit No. 30 in the Angels’ 93rd game. Trout broke his own club record, having previously hit his 30th homer in the Angels’ 98th game, in 2015.

Albert Pujols padded the lead to 9-2 with a three-run homer in the seventh, his 14th of the season.

The Angels collected 12 hits, including three from Luís Rengifo and two apiece from David Fletcher, Calhoun and Pujols.

More to come on this story.

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