Mike Trout stands alone and Jo Adell stands out for Angels in doubleheader sweep
Jo Adell, who debuted a month ago after spending most of his short minor league career drawing comparisons to Trout, smacked a ground ball up the first base line in Game 1 of the Angels’ doubleheader against the Houston Astros. As the single rolled toward the right-field corner, Shohei Ohtani scooted home from third and Justin Upton glided in behind him to seal a shortened, seven-inning victory, 10-9.
Beaming, Adell ducked his head and turned back toward acting first base coach José Molina, who slung an arm around Adell’s shoulders and patted his helmet. A portion of the team joined them in celebration as Adell descended into the dugout to prepare for the second game of Saturday night.
The Angels went on to cap a long, hot day with another heart-racing win. They beat the Astros 7-6, securing their first four-game winning streak of the abbreviated season and improving to 16-25.
Anthony Rendon slugged the game-winning hit. Rendon’s seventh-inning, three-run homer dropped 4.3 seconds after he yanked Humberto Castellanos’ inner-half pitch into the left-field corner.
“It’s a learning curve for a lot of the young guys that we have on this team,” said Rendon, whose 2.1 Fangraphs wins above replacement edges out Trout for the American League lead by 0.1 point. “When Joe [Maddon, the manager] says about learning how to win games, [the lesson is] we can’t just go out there and hit homers and think we’re going to get all of our runs on a homer. We got to be able to manufacture a run, move guys over and get a man in, in those key situations. I think we’ve just done that the last few games.”
In any other game, Rendon’s hit would have been enough to send the Astros to the showers. But the Angels were serving as the road team because the contest was a makeup of one that was supposed to take place last month in Houston.
Angels broadcaster Victor Rojas, who called the homer a walk-off shot, wasn’t the only one confused. Rendon realized on his jog around the bases that he still had to play the bottom of the inning at third base. Castellanos had to be reminded he still needed to record two outs.
The moment provided some levity for an Angels team that has begun to click. The relief was evident after the game, when reliever Noé Ramirez crashed Rendon’s videoconference.
“Hey Anthony, it’s your Mexican teammate here,” said Ramirez, who was in the Angels’ weight room. “I’m just wondering after a great clutch home run, what’s your choice of taco? … And also, [Andrelton Simmons] wants to know why you’re so cranky. Thank you.”
Rendon entertained the question, answering that he prefers a steak fajita but was willing to learn the ways of “Cali people” who “put avocado on everything.” He also provided a faux-gruff, “It’s like 11 o’clock.”
Earlier in the day, Adell made his mark on Game 1 long before registering his first game-winning RBI. The 21-year-old’s highlight reel for the evening opened with his robbery of Astros leadoff hitter George Springer, who ripped Angels starter Griffin Canning’s 0-and-2 fastball 369 feet to right field.
The ball easily would have been a home run if Adell hadn’t tracked its path on a diagonal, turned his back to the wall and leaped at the last second to haul it in for an out.
With the Angels trailing by one run in the fourth inning, Adell swung at Astros starter Brandon Bielak’s cutter on the outer edge of the strike zone and drove it 405 feet to right for a homer that tied the score at 4-4.
Key moments from the Angels’ 10-9 win over the Astros in the opening game of a doubleheader Saturday.
“When I’m going to right field, I know I’m where I need to be and I’m not pulling off the ball,” said Adell, who snapped an 0-for-16 skid with his third homer of the season. “That tells me everything I need to know, when I’m going down the right field line and hitting balls in the right-center. That’s where I want to be.”
Before the future of the Angels franchise left an imprint, Trout reminded fans one more time of the club’s past.
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Not 24 hours after tying Salmon on the Angels home run list, Trout crushed a 93-mph fastball to the opposite field for his 15th homer of the season and the 300th of his career in the third inning. The two-run blast cut the Astros’ lead to 4-3 and secured Trout’s position atop the franchise, which Salmon held for nearly 14 years.
“At least I can pass the torch onto somebody in the family — another fish,” a jovial Salmon said on the broadcast, for which he regularly serves as analyst.
After returning his equipment to the home dugout at Angel Stadium, Trout emerged to make eye contact with Salmon, who was on the broadcast level, and mime a hug in his direction.
“When I hit 299,” Trout said, “I saw on social media that every at-bat someone was filming him. … Seeing him up here, being able to pass him and having him up there to watch it, it’s definitely special.”
Trout’s historic home run cut through sweltering heat — the 109-degree temperature at first pitch was the hottest in ballpark history — at 105 mph before landing several rows deep in the right-field seats. Bielak, a native of New Jersey like Trout, whipped around to follow the trajectory of the 410-foot blast as soon as Trout barreled the pitch.
Mike Trout hit a two-run homer in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Astros to take sole possession of the Angels’ franchise record.
Trout, 29, is the 16th player to reach 300 home runs before turning 30 years old and the 11th fastest to accomplish the feat.
“It’d be a lot better if there were fans in the stands to see it, but that’s the way we’re living in 2020,” Trout said. “It’s a great moment, having Salmon here at our home games, him passing it on to me.”
Trout’s bat quieted in the second game. But the three-time AL MVP still knocked his third double of the day and scored on Albert Pujols’ single in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Astros’ lead to 4-1.
Key plays from the Angels’ 7-6 victory over the Astros in the nightcap of a doubleheader Saturday.
Trout’s flyout in the fifth ended a stretch in which he reached base in 11 of 12 plate appearances. It was the fifth time in his 10-year career Trout had assembled such a streak.
Adell’s stellar night slightly veered off track. His misplay of Jack Mayfield’s bloop single in center field eventually led the Astros to take a 6-4 lead on Springer’s two-run homer in the fifth. Adell just missed stealing another extra-bases hit from the Astros’ slugger, but the ball glanced off his glove after he extended it over the center-field wall.
Rendon’s heroics alleviated the anguish.
Three takeaways on the Angels
— Angels starter Griffin Canning was grooving in Game 1 until he issued a one-out walk to Springer in the third inning. Not even a subsequent strikeout put Canning back on course. He issued another free pass, gave up a two-run single to Yuli Gurriel and let the Astros extend their lead to 4-1.
— Two-out trouble also bit Felix Peña, who blew a save in the seventh. Peña retired two batters after giving up two straight hits and allowing the Astros to tie the score 7-7. But by the time he secured the third out, the Astros had scored two more runs. Peña wound up the victor in Game 1, thanks to Upton’s third RBI of the night and Adell’s first walk-off hit.
— The Astros, serving as the home team in Game 2, took a four-run lead in the second inning and knocked Angels starter Dillon Peters from the game. But the Angels wrested a victory from the Astros with the help of Pujols’ two run-scoring hits, Franklin Barreto’s RBI groundout and Rendon’s blast.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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