Pujol for Angels near to hitting 3,000
Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on Wednesday night became the first teammates in Major League history to homer in the same first inning eight times, sparking an offensive breakout as the Angels took an eight-run lead into the ninth and held on for a 10-7 win over the Orioles at Angel Stadium.
“Put up 10 runs and ended up needing every one of them,” manager Mike Scioscia said.
Pujols added a double as the Angels built a 7-1 lead in the fifth, putting him two hits shy of the illustrious 3,000 threshold and a tie with Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente for 31st on the all-time list. The Halos slugger is poised to become just the fourth player in MLB history with at least 3,000 hits and 600 homers, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez. His homer was his sixth on the season.
Trout’s homer was his 11th, tying him with Mookie Betts for the Major League lead and matching a club record for most through 30 games (Brian Downing, 1987). Statcast™ didn’t get an accurate reading of the towering shot deep into the left-field seats, spitting out a figure of 524 feet. It was far, but it wasn’t that far. Andrelton Simmons thought it was somewhere in the 480-foot range — he guessed 487. Trout said he felt like he hit the ball farther than his drive into the center-field fountains at Kauffman Stadium for a career-long 489 feet in 2014. We’ll never know for sure, but it impressed everyone nonetheless.
“I didn’t think he hit it that good,” Simmons joked. “Nah, he hit it well. That was a good pitch to hit, and he definitely didn’t miss it. That’s the kind of thing he can do as a hitter.”
Trout, who went 2-for-2 with an RBI, is slashing .292/.433/.651 this season. This performance comes one game after he was walked four times — thrice intentionally. Trout picked up two more walks on Wednesday, this time, both unintentional, giving him 26 on the season — another Major League lead.
Justin Upton added a three-run homer as the Angels pulled away in the fifth. He’s gone 2-for-5 with five RBIs since his walk-off single in the ninth inning Tuesday got him out of a 5-for-45 slump.
Andrew Heaney took the hill for the Angels on Wednesday, throwing a solid six innings, giving up one earned run on five hits and striking out two. Scioscia said Heaney’s fastball command, along with his use of both sides of the plate and changing tempo with his changeup and curveball, were the keys to his successful start.
The Angels’ 10 runs are the most they’ve scored since an 11-1 win over the Rangers on April 10 in Arlington. After starting the season 13-3 while averaging 6.4 runs per game, the Halos had scored four runs or fewer 12 times during the 4-9 stretch they took into Wednesday.
“When you get that much run support, it makes things a lot easier,” Heaney said.
The offensive breakout allowed the Angels to withstand an Orioles rally in the ninth, as reliever Eduardo Paredes opened the inning with a 10-2 lead and was lifted with one out after allowing five runs on five hits. Jim Johnson got the final two outs for his first save of the season.
Martin Maldonado has shaken an 0-for-34 slump with a 6-for-8 start to this series, hitting his first home run of the season on Wednesday.
“No doubt he’s more comfortable [at the plate],” Scioscia said. “Martin’s a better offensive player than he’s shown his first 80 at-bats or so.”
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cozart cuts down Mancini: Zack Cozart charged a slow chopper off the bat of Trey Mancini in the third inning. With his bare hand, the third baseman snagged the ball on the run and fired to first, beating Mancini to the bag by a step, preventing the leadoff man from reaching base.
Angels escape jam in 5th: With runners on first and third in the 5th, Heaney was stuck in a jam. Thanks to his middle infield, he got out of it. After inducing Craig Gentry to ground to Cozart, the third basemen promptly turned two, with the help of Ian Kinsler, to get out of the fifth with no runs allowed.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Pujols moved into sole possession of 11th place on MLB’s all-time doubles list with 625, surpassing Hank Aaron. Next up on that list is countryman David Ortiz, with 632.
“It seems like every day we come in, he passes somebody,” Trout said. “Hall of Fame guy. And now he’s closing in 3,000, so that’s pretty cool.”
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
A Cozart ground ball down the first-base line was snagged by a diving Chris Davis. As both approached the bag, Cozart slid and Davis dove headfirst, the latter stretching out to tag the base with the ball. Cozart was called out on an extremely close play. The Angels challenged, but the call would stand after review.