A day that began with a sobering departure for the Angels ended with an arrival most intoxicating.
“When I touched second base,” Francisco Arcia said, “I almost cried.”
After 12 years in the minors, the 28-year-old catcher made his major league debut Thursday, homering for his first hit and driving in four runs in a 12-8 Angels win.
Arcia was promoted from triple-A Salt Lake to fill a roster spot vacated by Martin Maldonado, who was traded in the morning to the Houston Astros in a move more about winning in the future than right now.
The rookie arrived at Angel Stadium after a sleepless night of anticipation, sat down at his locker and was told that he was in the starting lineup. His reaction: “Oh, wow.”
Before seeing his first big-league pitch, Arcia appeared for 11 teams in nine leagues, played 584 games and batted 1,943 times.
“It’s awesome,” teammate Justin Upton said. “To grind that long and get the opportunity to get here, he took full advantage of it.”
After lining out, walking and striking out his first three times up, Arcia came to the plate in the seventh with two runners on. He drove a fastball from reliever Juan Minaya an estimated 391 feet from the plate and over the wall in right field.
As he reached first base, he raised his right hand, he explained later, in salute to his grandmother. By the time his foot hit second, Arcia was holding back tears.
“Amazing,” he said. “Great moment. I waited too long for this.”
An inning later, when Arcia added an RBI single, he became the 13th player in American League history and the first Angel to drive in four runs in his debut.
After it was over, Arcia’s postgame on-field television interview was interrupted when Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons dumped buckets of water over his head.
Tropeano frustrated with homers
Nick Tropeano pitched into the seventh and gave up only five hits, all of which sailed over the wall.
“That’s a frustrating outing for me,” the right-hander said. “I felt good out there today. That’s the scary thing about it. I made five mistakes and they all went for home runs.”
Tropeano became only the sixth American League pitcher to earn a victory despite giving up five or more homers in a game. He also won at home for the first time since May 18, 2016.
After giving up home runs in the first two innings, he surrendered three in the span of four batters in the seventh, following a lengthy delay because of a medical issue experienced by umpire Gerry Davis.
“I’m not one to make excuses,” Tropeano said. “You just gotta take it for what it is. You just gotta make pitches. A couple mistakes that I made were obviously severe.”
In their last two games, the Angels scored 23 runs on 30 hits, 16 for extra bases. They also homered four times in each game. … The Toronto Blue Jays claimed pitcher Oliver Drake off waivers. … Pitcher Dayan Diaz was reinstated from the restricted list and sent to Class A Inland Empire. … Patrick Sandoval, acquired Thursday from the Astros in the Maldonado trade, is ranked as the Angels’ No. 21 prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was not among the Astros’ top 30.