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Angels' Canning looks to rediscover strike zone vs. M's

To say Griffin Canning was a little wild in his last start would be an understatement.

The Los Angeles Angels' rookie right-hander lasted just 1 1/3 innings Monday against the Houston Astros, issuing six walks and throwing four wild pitches. The Angels rallied for a 9-6 victory.

Canning (3-5, 4.75 ERA) will try to find the strike zone more often Saturday when he starts at Seattle, facing the Mariners for the first time in his career.

"The ball just wasn't going where I wanted it to," Canning said after his last start, according to MLB.com. "Physically, I felt good, but I'm not gonna panic. I'm not gonna feel sorry for myself. I'm just gonna do what I do, keep working, keep trying to get better."

The Mariners are scheduled to use a reliever as an opener before turning the ball over to veteran left-hander Wade LeBlanc (5-3, 5.15 ERA). LeBlanc started July 13 against the host Angels, allowing six runs on 10 hits in four innings during a 9-2 defeat. LeBlanc is 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA against the Angels this season and 3-1 with a 4.50 in five career appearances against them, including four starts.

Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is expected to return after missing the series opener Friday due to left hamstring tightness. Pujols left Los Angeles' Thursday game against Houston after being thrown out at second on a double play in the sixth inning.

"Albert feels good," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "There's not really any soreness when he's walking, which is a good sign. But he's just not going to play (Friday) as a precautionary move. Hopefully, assuming he's completely fine (Saturday) and after doing some tests and the medical staff clears him, he'll be back in there."

The Mariners' Mike Leake flirted with a perfect game Friday, retiring the Angels in order in each of the first eight innings before Luis Rengifo led off the ninth by grounding a single into right field.

"I think he threw very well today," Rengifo said. "In and out, changeup, curveball. My last at-bat, I got ready for breaking ball or changeup, and I got that hit to the right side."

The Mariners won 10-0, snapping a six-game losing streak, as Daniel Vogelbach hit a pair of three-run homers.

Leake's performance came one week after the shortest start of his 10-year career, when he lasted just two-thirds of an inning against the Angels. Los Angeles' Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined for a no-hitter in a 13-0 victory that night, when the Angels honored late teammate Tyler Skaggs.

"I think a little bit more of urgency," Leake told MLB.com of the difference between his past two starts. "They came out super urgent the last outing, so I definitely didn't want that to happen again."

As for the emotion of taking a perfect game into the ninth inning?

"It was fun. As you get closer, you get the shakes and you kind of have to calm yourself down," Leake said. "But other than that, it's just a matter of making your pitches."

Mariners manager Scott Servais said, "That was Mike at the top of his game right there. He was working quick. He gets them in swing mode because all of his pitches are going to be around the plate. But I thought he did a really nice job of mixing speeds. There was a lot of back and forth."

--Field Level Media