The stoicism that cloaks
He smiled, broadly. And he stared into the dugout of the team he had just beaten.
"Just part of the game, man," Pujols said later, his emotions back in check. "Exciting moment."
That it was, the walk-off single that gave the
"It's not rocket science," Pujols said. "If I was the manager, I would have done the same thing."
That does not diminish the pride Pujols takes in his game, and the reputation he has earned as a Hall of Famer in waiting, and one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. Trout is 23, and yet the Padres decided the mighty Pujols would be the easier out.
Pujols insisted he was not offended.
"It doesn't make any sense to let the best player on the team beat you," Pujols said.
This has been a trying season for Pujols. The Angels desperately need his production, with Howie Kendrick and
Pujols, the three-time most valuable player, is batting .228 overall, .176 with men in scoring position.
"He's hit some balls hard," Angels Manager
"He'll be fine. He's Albert. He's going to find it and get it done."
The happy ending obscured the second guessing. The Angels had a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning, and they blew it.
Jered Weaver had the shutout working, a three-run lead and a guy batting below the Mendoza Line due up. One more out was all Weaver would need to get through seven innings, with setup man
Scioscia had seen enough. He yanked Weaver in favor of Jose Alvarez. He faced three batters. Three runs scored.
Scioscia said he wanted to give Alvarez some margin for error and preferred the next couple matchups against Alvarez to those against Weaver.
"Obviously, it didn't work out," Scioscia said.
"It didn't work out, but we won," Weaver said. "That's all that matters."
Weaver pitched brilliantly, mixing a fastball that did not hit 90 mph with a curve that did not hit 70 mph.
Weaver, who faced 26 batters, was charged with one run. Alvarez, who faced three batters, was charged with two runs. Weaver has a 1.50 earned-run average in his last four starts.
As the Angels batted in the bottom of the ninth, with the score tied, 3-3, Padres Manager
But, with one out,
Erick Aybar struck out, with Trout to follow.
"I was ready to hit," Trout said. "I thought they were going to pitch to me."
They walked him, loading the bases for Pujols, whose broken-bat single won the game.