The opposition couldn’t knock him down Thursday.
Only Nick Tropeano could knock Nick Tropeano down, which is why, in the sixth inning, he had to pick himself up off the ground — with only an announced crowd of 43,344 at Rogers Centre and an audience on Facebook watching.
“I just took a little cartwheel spill,” the Angels starter said, laughing. “Tried to make it as graceful as possible.”
Other than that incident, which was caused when his cleat stuck in the dirt, Tropeano remained upright by every definition, giving the Angels’ sluggish offense ample time to awaken for an 8-1 victory over Toronto.
The win pushed the Angels’ road record to 16-5, by percentage the best in baseball. They also won this three-game series after dropping the opener and entering the ninth inning of the second game trailing.
“My main goal out there today was give my team an opportunity to salvage this series,” Tropeano said. “Taking series is big for us.”
He had three 1-2-3 innings, permitted only one Blue Jay to advance past second and needed 92 pitches to get through 7⅓ innings.
After a two-out double by Yangervis Solarte in the first, Tropeano struck out Teoscar Hernandez on three pitches. Both of the singles Tropeano allowed were erased by double plays.
“For him to get us 22 outs was big,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “That’s a great effort.”
Tropeano’s only notable stumble came when he actually stumbled. Landing awkwardly, he crumbled after delivering to Josh Donaldson, who eventually singled.
On the first pitch after the hit, Solarte bounced the ball to second and Ian Kinsler and Andrelton Simmons turned the Angels’ second double play of the day.
In the first two games of this series, the Angels had 13 hits, 12 of them singles. In the third game, they had three doubles and a home run by the halfway point. The homer, the 15th of the season for Mike Trout, was the Angels’ first since Sunday.
They were a sleepy offense, to be certain, before the ninth inning here Wednesday, when they scored four runs for a 5-4 victory that was full of drama and significance.
Who really knows if there’s momentum from one day to the next in baseball, but the Angels did resemble a more comfortable group Thursday as they had their greatest offensive output in two weeks.
Albert Pujols also homered — his first since May 2 — and drove in another run with a single. Martin Maldonado had two hits and three RBI.
Justin Upton contributed a double, a single and an RBI, as did Andrelton Simmons. Shohei Ohtani had two doubles, two walks and two runs.
Even Kinsler, the team’s slumping mostly leadoff hitter, offered a reminding glimpse of why the Angels traded for him in the offseason.
Entering the game, he was hitless in 12 at-bats and one for his past 19, a slide that dropped his average to .190. He then made three more outs before doubling to start the seventh.
Kinsler seized his opportunity on the bases by stealing third and then scoring on Upton’s tapper in front of the plate. It was just the second time Kinsler has crossed home since May 10.
If there is momentum in baseball, Kinsler and the Angels can now only hope it survives plane flights too.
After this game, they traveled to New York for a weekend series against a Yankee team that has the second-best record in baseball and is 18-7 at home.
“We’re going to take this on to New York,” Tropeano said, onward and upright, indeed.
2 p.m.: This article has been updated with staff reporting.
This article was originally published at 1:05 p.m.