ANAHEIM – The Boo Birds were out in full force at Angel Stadium on Monday night with rival Astros in town, playing in front of fans at Big A for the first time since the news of their 2017 steal scandal. The Angels also did not give the spectators much to cheer about early as they were not able to get much insult against right-hander Luis Garcia through the first three innings.
But Mike Trout gave the Angels both their first run and their first hit of what ended up being a dramatic 7-6 victory with a towering sunshine to the left field outside Garcia to lead out of the fourth inning. It was the first homer of the year for trout, the winner of the American League MVP Award in 201
Trout worked a 2-2 count against Garcia before being read on an 82 mph change. The Homer left the bat at 108.9 mph and walked a projected 417 feet down the left field line per second. Statcast and woke up the offense.
“We fought early, but we kept coming back and Mikey’s home run changed the momentum a little bit,” said Angels manager Joe Maddon. “But you can credit almost everyone up and down the lineup with quality bats.”
However, it was late in the game as the Angels did their most damage, just as they did against the White Sox in all four games of their opening series, as they have now scored in the eighth or ninth inning in all five games they have played this season with together 14 runs over these innings. The Halos gathered in four runs in the eighth inning on Monday as Trout’s early homer seemed to get the offense underway as the game went on.
Trout went 2-for-3 with two walks, one deliberately – and his one came out on a cold strike at a pitch outside the zone – and helped sparkle the offense. But the angels proved that their entire lineup can be dangerous with yet another late comeback.
“It will take us all, and tonight you saw it,” Trout said. “We came back and had many big hits in the late innings. It’s about putting pressure on the defense. ”
This time it was veterans Albert Pujols and José Iglesias who triggered the rally, while Shohei Ohtani came in to squeeze, but was immediately hit by a pitch from reliever Joe Smith. Ohtani stared down at Smith and showed the enmity between the two clubs one night where both an inflatable and a real trash can were thrown on the pitch by fans.
“I think there was a venting process going on,” Maddon said. “I think it’s entertaining. I do not think the Astros were affected by it and it probably burns them a bit. But fans do what they want and the bins were a bit unique. It used to be beachballs, now it’s trash cans. ”
Dexter Fowler shook off a slow offensive start with an RBI single to make it an one-run game before David Fletcher tied it with an RBI ground. The Angels were then helped by a defensive mistake from Yuli Gurriel who corked a wild throw home on a grounder from Jared Walsh to give Los Angeles the lead. Trout was deliberately gone and Anthony Rendon arranged for an insurance ride with a victim fly.
“It does matter that we’ve done it often,” Maddon said of the comeback winners. “It creates credibility. And we have done it against good pitching, against the better parts of opposing bullpens because they have been in front. So there is a confidence factor there. ”
Trout, 29, has been a big part of the club’s early success and reached his base safely in 14 of his 23 appearances and batting .400 / .609 / .667. He was working hard in the low season to fix his swing mechanics when he felt like they were gone by 2020 and he pulled out while swinging too often.
But the scary part for opposing teams is that despite all his success so far, Trout feels he still has more to unlock this season.
“It’s approaching,” Trout said of his turn. “I felt really good at the plate tonight. It is pitch for pitch and get in a good position to hit and not try to do too much. It definitely feels better up there. ”