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Mike Trout, Albert Pujols help power Angels past Athletics 4-1

Mike Trout, Albert Pujols help power Angels past Athletics 4-1
Angels slugger Mike Trout hits against the Texas Rangers on Thursday. (Jennifer Stewart / Getty Images)

The Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Sunday at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Angels are 7-3 in Cactus League play.

AT THE PLATE: After he found himself getting jammed at the plate in his first few at-bats of the spring, Mike Trout made a minor adjustment in his swing. Five days and about five at-bats later, Trout scorched a fastball thrown by starter Marco Estrada and watched it sail over the center-field fence in the third inning. “I feel good, seeing the ball really good, putting good swings on the ball,” Trout said. “My first at-bat about three games ago I was getting jammed on a line. Made an adjustment, felt good since then.” … Albert Pujols followed Trout with a home run to left-center field. Neither had hit a home run this spring. Pujols was three for three with two singles, including one that cut across the right side of the diamond and into right field. … Kole Calhoun pulled a double to right field, starting a string of four consecutive extra-base hits for the Angels in the third inning. … In his first at-bat, third baseman Taylor Ward, who is trying to win a spot on the opening-day roster, drove a pitch that just missed going over the left-field fence. He hit a triple to the opposite field in his second at-bat. Ward had utilized both sides of the field pretty equally in the minor leagues until last year, when his home run-to-fly ball rate doubled to a career-high 15.4% and his opposite-field percentage fell to 23.3%, according to FanGraphs. Balancing that ratio isn’t a point of emphasis this spring, though. “Getting to pitches up,” Ward said. “The movements I'm making will help me do that, but that doesn't mean to swing at balls up. … I’m getting to balls a little differently now.”

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ON THE MOUND: With Andrew Heaney unavailable because of inflammation in his left elbow, the Angels deployed only relievers. Daniel Hudson pitched a perfect first inning, striking out leadoff hitter Dustin Fowler. … Williams Jerez surrendered the only run on a two-out double that drove in a runner from first base. … John Curtiss, who was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Twins during the offseason, was the only pitcher to get an extended look. He pitched 1 2/3 innings, giving up one walk and striking out one batter. … The Angels held the A’s to three hits.

EXTRA BASES: Less than 18 hours after crushing a golf ball at a Topgolf facility in Scottsdale, where the Pujols Family Foundation was hosting a charity event, Trout hit a home run. He said he thought his golf ball traveled farther. “I’ve always thought golf didn’t mess up my baseball swing for me,” he said. … Through 10 games, the Angels are batting .304 with a .546 slugging percentage. Only one team has a higher on-base percentage than the Angels’ .394. Of course, it’s early and the Angels aren’t playing at full strength. Minor leaguers like Jose Rojas, who Sunday hit his second home run in 15th at-bats, have helped pad the stats. … Pujols is batting .556 (five for nine) with no strikeouts and two walks in four games. “It feels good to once in a while get a good result with the things you're working on in spring training,” said Pujols, who is entering his 19th season. “I wanted to find a pitch I liked in my last at-bat and the ball was sinking but I was able to keep my hands inside the ball and hit it the other way.”

UP NEXT: The Angels will play the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch at noon PST. Right-hander Trevor Cahill is scheduled to start. TV: FS West. Radio: 830.

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