Mike Trout looked strangely overmatched Tuesday night, going hitless in four at-bats and striking out three times in a loss to the Oakland Athletics. Whatever the Angels center fielder was feeling at the plate, he did not carry it over to Wednesday night.
Trout walked and scored on Erick Aybar’s two-run single in the first inning, crushed a 454-foot homer to left field in the third and capped a three-run seventh with a two-run double to left to lead the Angels to a 6-3 victory over the A’s in the Oakland Coliseum.
“That’s why we play 162 games,” said Trout, the 23-year-old star who won the American League most valuable player award in 2014. “You can’t hang your head on one game. You’ve got to stay positive. It’s a long season. It felt good to get a couple hits and help team win tonight.”
Trout has a career .250 average (34-136) with 50 strikeouts in 34 games in the Oakland Coliseum, but he’s also hit 10 homers here since he was called up to the major leagues in 2012, more than any other opposing player -- and more than Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick has hit -- in that span.
“I just keep my same approach,” Trout said, “whether I get hits here, at home, or anywhere.”
Trout said he looked at some video and could see that he missed some good hitting pitches in recent games, but he tried not to dwell on the negatives.
“I don’t try to figure out too much or think about it too much,” Trout said. “Just go to sleep, the game’s over, and tomorrow is a new day with five more at-bats.”
Trout’s double provided two big insurance runs, but it wasn’t the biggest hit of the seventh. After Matt Joyce led off with a walk and took third on C.J. Cron’s hit-and-run single and Chris Iannetta struck out, No. 9 hitter Johnny Giavotella capped a seven-pitch at-bat with an RBI single to center off reliever Ryan Cook for a 4-3 lead.
“He was throwing the kitchen sink up there, and I was just trying to battle and put the ball in play,” Giavotella said. “He left a 2-and-2 slider over the plate, and I hit it.”
Giavotella, who won the second-base job in spring training, has been a pleasant surprise in his first crack at being a big-league regular, batting .317 with nine runs and nine runs batted in. He was a part-time player in Kansas City the last four seasons.
“He’s gotten some big hits for us, he’s having some good at-bats, and he brings some energy,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “That whole chain of events in the seventh, from Matty Joyce getting on to C.J. executing the hit and run after the strikeout -- momentum is really shifting where they can get out of it on one pitch. And Johnny G had a great at-bat. That’s obviously a key play in the game.”
The seventh inning also highlighted the struggles of Iannetta, the catcher who is batting .093 and struck out twice Wednesday night.
“If you want to define pressing, you’re going to just point to Chris right now,” Scioscia said. “This guy wants to help so bad. He takes on the burden of the whole game plan and what he does behind the plate. He’s done a good job with that.
“And at the plate, he’s just really struggling to get anything to fall in. He expanded the zone a little bit tonight, which is a little bit unlike him. He’ll get it going. We need him. He’s just trying too hard right now.”