Marc Krauss wasn't offended. He knows any team in the same position would have done exactly what the Toronto Blue Jays did in the seventh inning Wednesday night.
The Angels were down by a run with two outs, they had a man on first base, and up came 2014 American League most valuable player Mike Trout, who had blasted his 11th home run of the season, a 412-foot solo shot to center field, in the fifth and singled and scored in the fourth.
Krauss, a reserve first baseman and corner outfielder, was in the on-deck circle because he had replaced No. 3 hitter Albert Pujols, who suffered a bruised left wrist — medical tests showed there were no fractures, a huge relief for the Angels — in the fifth.
The Blue Jays did not intentionally walk Trout, but Toronto starter Drew Hutchinson did not throw one of his next four pitches anywhere near the strike zone. Trout walked to put runners on first and second.
"That's what I would do if I was the manager when Albert goes down and I come in," said Krauss, who had one hit in 14 at-bats this season and struck out in the fifth. "I'm one for whatever. Why are you going to pitch to the best player in the game when you're clinging to a one-run lead? It was a little bit of motivation."
Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons summoned right-hander Steve Delabar to face the left-handed-hitting Krauss. A 1-and-1 pitch bounced to the backstop for a wild pitch that advanced the runners to second and third.
Krauss swung and missed for strike two, but he didn't miss Delabar's next pitch, a split-fingered fastball, lining it to the gap in left-center for a two-run double that pushed the Angels toward a 4-3 victory in the Rogers Centre.
"You never want to lose a teammate, especially a Hall of Famer like Albert," said Krauss, who was claimed off waivers from Houston in December. "But at that point, there is nothing we can do but battle. Next man up. I came in, and once the ball got into the gap, I knew those guys were coming around. It felt great."
The same could not be said for Pujols' wrist. The slugger couldn't back away from a high-and-tight Hutchinson fastball in the fourth and was hit by the pitch. He remained in the game in the bottom of the fourth, but the swelling and pain made it difficult to swing, and he was pulled.
"It didn't sound good," Trout said. "I was on first base, and at first I thought the ball hit the knob of the bat. But after the replay, I heard everybody saying it hit the wrist. I just hope everything is all right. He's a big guy in our lineup."
General Manager Jerry Dipoto said tests showed no broken bones in the hand or wrist, and Pujols was listed as "day-to-day." Pujols missed two weeks of the 2011 season with St. Louis after fracturing the same wrist on a play at first base.
"We're naturally concerned with the area it was in and the swelling in there," Manager Mike Scioscia said before test results were available. "We hope it's just a bruise. … Albert is as tough as they come. He was trying to stay in."
The Angels have struggled to score runs with Pujols, their offense entering Wednesday's game ranked last in the major leagues in on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.645) and 27th in batting average (.243) and runs (143).
They can ill afford to lose the veteran who, though he's batting .231 with seven homers and 15 runs batted in, provides considerable lineup protection for Trout, who bats second.
"We're trying to get the offense in gear," Scioscia said. "We know we don't have quite the depth we had last year, not only in our lineup but in the options we have on the bench.
"Marc Krauss had a big hit tonight. We need C.J. Cron to start swinging it. That needed to happen anyway, independent of Albert's injury."