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LAA@SEA: Wells belts a two-run blast in the seventh

SEATTLE -- Vernon Wells accepts his struggles in the game. He even welcomes them.

"I don't mind struggling. Struggling is something you learn a lot from, as an athlete and as a person,'' the Angels left fielder said. "Eventually, it makes you better."

Eventually arrived Monday. Wells broke out of his season-long slump with a pair of home runs and three RBIs as the Angels opened a season-high 12-game road trip with a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

It has been a difficult 2 1/2 months for Wells, who came over the winter in a trade and a hefty contract. He hit just .171 in April then landed on the disabled list May 10 with a right groin strain.

He came off the DL on June 7 only to be greeted with boos from the home crowd.

"I've heard my share [of boos]," he said. "That's the way society is now. You see what [Miami Heat's] LeBron James is going though for a simple game of basketball. We have to live with it as athletes. [But] it drives you. It makes you want to get better."

Wells spent most of Monday studying his films from last season to figure out why he was missing pitches he should be hitting. He made an adjustment in his batting stance -- standing more straight up -- and worked on it in the cage and batting practice. For one game at least, it clicked.

There is not an abundance of positive data to work with yet, but manager Mike Scioscia believes things are changing for Wells.

"Obviously, there's a lot of production you can get out of Vernon that hopefully we're going to get as the season moves on," Scioscia said. "Coupled with a good game he had a few nights ago and hitting the ball well [Sunday], hopefully he's found his rhythm and starting to square some balls up.

"He's trying to make his contributions to a new team and understands the importance of how he swings the bat is to our success. He's only one guy, but he's a major part of what we're trying to build around. Hopefully, he's going to start to do some of the things he's capable of doing."

The Angels provided enough offense to sustain starter Dan Haren (6-4) for only his second win since April 17. He went six innings, allowing seven hits and three runs. He walked none and struck out seven.

The five runs represent a scoring bonanza for Haren. He had received just one run of support in three of his previous four starts. The five runs also are the second most in his 14 starts.

"He survived. He had to throw a lot of pitches to get to that point in the game," Scioscia said. "Early on, he didn't have his split working. As game went on, he got better.

"They made him work for every out. It's good we finally broke through and got him a little run support to get him a win."

Jeff Mathis opened the seventh with a double into the left-field corner. Maicer Izturis, initially failing to put down a bunt, swung on the second pitch, grounding out to first. That worked well enough to get Mathis to third.

Torii Hunter followed with a two-hopper to third baseman Chone Figgins. Both Mathis and the throw came home but Mathis appeared to dislodge the ball from catcher Miguel Olivo's glove and was safe on the hard slide.

Two batters later, Wells crushed a two-run home run, his 22nd career multiple home run game. He has six home runs.

"The first pitch that he hit was just kind of a hanging breaking ball, and the second pitch, I don't know," Mariners starter Jason Vargas said. "It was a good pitch and he's a good hitter. I thought I made a good pitch."

The Angels quickly jumped on Vargas (4-4) with a run in the first. Hunter drew a one-out walk. Bobby Abreu followed with a single, with Hunter holding at second.

With two outs, Howard Kendrick rapped a single through the left side and Hunter scored on a slide.

The Mariners countered to tie it in the bottom of the inning, as former Angel Adam Kennedy drove in Ichiro Suzuki with a two-out double down the right-field line.

They added a run in the second on an infield single by Franklin Gutierrez, allowing Carlos Peguero to score from third.

Wells' home run in the third tied it at 2. That ended the team's six-game homerless drought.

"Even a team not built on driving the ball, that was a long dry spell,'' Scioscia added.

Seattle went up 3-2 in the fifth on Brendan Ryan's sacrifice fly to right, scoring Figgins from third.

The Angels added a run in the ninth on Abreu's two-out single, scoring Izturis from second. Comments