Taylor Ward, David Fletcher lead offense in Angels’ victory over Mariners

ANAHEIM — A day after Adam Eaton joined the Angels to get the bulk of the time in right field, the player who had been the primary right fielder made a statement.

Taylor Ward had three hits, including a two-run homer, in the Angels’ 9-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

The other offensive hero for the Angels was David Fletcher, who ran his hitting streak to 26 games with three doubles and five RBIs. He had a bases-loaded double in the second and a two-run double in the eighth.

That was plenty of support for Alex Cobb, who gave the Angels a much-needed quality start by allowing one run in 6-2/3 innings.

Three of the Angels runs were produced by Ward, whose playing time figures to be reduced if the Angels opt to play Eaton most of the time in right field, as Manager Joe Maddon said.

Ward had also been in a 2-for-21 slump before the break, further giving the Angels reason to give Eaton a shot.

But Ward spent his All-Star break taking extra batting practice … against his wife, who is a former softball pitcher at Fresno State.

“I (hit against her) every offseason,” Ward said. “I might have to have her come in and throw against our guys too.”

Ward said in those sessions over the break he was focused on the same swing issues that he usually needs to address.

“I think it’s just the typical stuff with me like just being under the ball, working under with my mechanics,” he said. “What I really focused on was getting back on top of it and shortening up my turn. So I’m gonna stick with that from now on.”

If Ward can get back to hitting as he was earlier in the season, there could still be playing time for him even with Eaton in right field. Ward still could start in right against lefties — as he did against Yusei Kikuchi on Saturday. The Angels could also start him in left and move Phil Gosselin from left to third. Starting left fielder Justin Upton and starting third baseman Anthony Rendon are both on the injured list.

Ward singled into center in the second, coming home on Fletcher’s double. In the third, his double followed a José Iglesias double, producing another run.

Two innings later Ward blasted a 417-foot homer into the bushes beyond the center field fence, padding the Angels’ lead to 7-1.

“He had really good at-bats against a really good pitcher,” Maddon said. “He’s the guy who put (Kikuchi) on his heels… That (homer) was a really big moment in tonight’s game that gets lost.”

Ward’s co-star was Fletcher, whose streak is now the second longest in Angels history, trailing only Garret Anderson’s 28-game streak in 2008.

Fletcher hasn’t simply been extending the streak with one hit a night, either.

His three hits on Saturday night marked the seventh time in the last eight games that he’s had multiple hits, including two four-hit games and three three-hit games.

Overall he’s 22 for 37 (.595) in the last eight games, and 49 for 108 (.454) in the streak, which has lifted his season average to .318 and his OPS to .743.

“It’s pretty fun to watch,” Maddon said. “I’ve seen hot streaks, but not here, noto in the big leagues like that. He’s been doing it for a while. It started in the No. 9 hole and has continued in the No. 1 hole. He’s hitting the ball hard. They’re not flukes.”

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