Friday, May 16
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mike Trout is going to have plenty of memorable home runs to look back on before his career is over. Very few will be more dramatic than this one.
The Angels' All-Star center fielder greeted Brad Boxberger with a three-run shot to cap a four-run ninth inning, giving Los Angeles a 6-5 victory over Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series and a 10-game homestand.
"I just told myself to be calm and get a pitch to hit," Trout said. "I was just trying to get a base hit, put a good swing on the ball and it went over the fence," Trout said. "It's an unbelievable feeling."
Rays closer Grant Balfour came on in the ninth to try and protect a 5-2 lead for Erik Bedard, but walked his first two batters before giving up an RBI single by Collin Cowgill. Trout then jumped on a 1-1 pitch from Boxberger (0-1) and drove it into the top tier of the double-decker bullpen in left field for his eighth homer.
"We had a three-run lead with our closer coming in against their 8 and 9 (in the order), and he walks both those guys and gives up a base hit," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "... I really thought Boxy had a chance to strike those guys out. He just got a pitch in a bad spot to Trout."
Fernando Salas (3-0) pitched a perfect inning to get the victory.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia won two replay challenges with his team at bat. Both involved second base umpire Jim Reynolds on tag plays in the fifth and seventh innings, although the Angels didn't score in either inning.
Los Angeles starter Tyler Skaggs gave up five runs and eight hits in six-plus innings, remaining winless in five starts at Angel Stadium this season with a 6.91 ERA.
Brandon Guyer hit his first home run of the season and center fielder Desmond Jennings robbed C.J. Cron of a two-run homer as Bedard took a 4-0 lead into the sixth. The left-hander was charged with two unearned runs and four hits through 5 2-3 innings and struck out five.
"I was throwing strikes, mixing my pitches and getting ahead. That makes it a lot easier," Bedard said. "Anytime you have runners in scoring position, you try and limit the damage. And that's what I tried to do."
Rays first baseman James Loney, playing in on the grass, allowed a two-out grounder by Erick Aybar to get under his glove with runners at the corners in the sixth. Howie Kendrick scored on Loney's third error of the season, ending a string of 22 consecutive scoreless innings by Tampa Bay pitchers — five short of the franchise record set last September.
Pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez greeted Brandon Gomes with an RBI single before Jake McGee came in and struck out Grant Green. Guyer chased Skaggs with a leadoff homer in the seventh to give Tampa Bay a three-run lead.
"I know I don't get that many starts, so I try not to put pressure on myself when I get in there," Guyer said. "It's been a challenge. I know my numbers aren't where they are supposed to be, but the numbers are really secondary. It's a long season, so I'll just keep grinding along."
In the fourth, Jennings took away Cron's bid for his third big league homer and first at Angel Stadium with a leaping grab in left-center — two innings after Guyer raced in from left field to make a diving grab of Cron's Texas Leaguer.
Thanks to Jennings' catch, Bedard has thrown 46 1-3 consecutive innings without allowing a home run since last Sept. 16, when he was pitching for Houston and gave up a two-run shot by Cincinnati's Zack Cozart at Minute Maid Park.
"What a catch," Bedard said. "I tried to jam him, but I guess I didn't jam him enough. It kept carrying and carrying, and Desmond made a great play."
Tampa Bay scored three runs in the sixth. Jimenez, making his fifth start at third base while David Freese remains on the disabled list, went into the hole for Wil Myers' sixth-inning grounder with Aybar standing right behind Jimenez waiting for the ball. It deflected off Jimenez's glove and into short left field, and Myers was credited with an RBI double.
Loney, who leads Tampa Bay with 24 RBIs, doubled inside first base two batters later to drive in another run.
"It's a tough loss, but we're just got to come back out here tomorrow and keep clawing and grinding," Guyer said.
NOTES: The Rays put switch-hitting 2B Ben Zobrist on the 15-day DL because of a dislocated left thumb, which he injured on a headfirst slide while trying to steal second base in Wednesday's 2-0 victory at Seattle. ... Angels LF Josh Hamilton, who hasn't played since tearing a ligament in his left thumb on a headfirst slide into first base April 8, took live batting practice for the first time since the injury and is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment late next week. ... Rays RHP Alex Cobb, sidelined since April 13 because of an oblique strain on his left side, is scheduled to make a rehab start on Saturday with Class-A Charlotte and will be limited to five innings or 75 pitches.