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Maurer settling into, enjoying new relief role

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ANAHEIM -- Mariners right-hander Brandon Maurer said he loves his new role as a reliever.

"I'd say that I found my place," said Maurer, who broke into the Major Leagues in 2013 as a starter, but has pitched eight consecutive scoreless outings in relief (12 2/3 innings) since his conversion.

"It's just been exciting, and unbelievable," he said.

Manager Lloyd McClendon was particularly impressed with Maurer in the ninth inning Saturday. The Angels' Howie Kendrick opened the inning with a double off the glove of leaping shortstop Brad Miller. But Maurer struck out David Freese looking, retired Efren Navarro on a popup and then struck out Chris Iannetta to send the game into extra innings.

"Maurer was pretty darn good," McClendon said. "Especially considering the circumstances of how that inning started, with a play like that [Kendrick's double, which Miller nearly caught]. [Maurer] shut them down pretty good."

Maurer made seven starts for the Mariners earlier this season, and 14 as a rookie. He said his reaction to his role change was positive from the start.

"I was pretty excited about it," Maurer said. "I started the year in the 'pen in Triple-A, and I liked it."

Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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