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Mike Trout’s home run streak ends, but he still shows he’s one of baseball’s best

Angels' Mike Trout flies out during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians.
Angels’ Mike Trout flies out during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday in Cleveland.
(David Dermer / Associated Press)
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Mike Trout came up just one home run short of history.

The Angels slugger on Tuesday had four chances to hit a home run for the eighth game in row and all four times, none of the balls he hit were able to clear the wall in Cleveland.

“This one was a little bit different because of the buildup,” Trout told reporters in Cleveland after the game. “I’m not going to lie. I’ve been thinking about [the streak], for sure. Everybody’s been texting me. You guys are asking me a bunch of questions. It’s kind of hard not to think about the streaks in Major League history. Not even just home runs. Like, it’s hard for a 10-game hit streak, let alone 56 games. It’s just ridiculous. You’re always thinking about it.”

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His first two at-bats, against Guardians starter Cody Morris, resulted in a fly out and a walk. In his final two attempts, against relievers Kirk McCarty and James Karinchak, Trout lined out and flied out. The Angels lost 3-1, their fifth loss in the last six games.

“My first three at-bats, I wasn’t, but my last at-bat I was,” Trout said of his home run attempt on the day. “It’s the nature of things, I guess. When I think home run, not good. As you saw. I chased some pitches and was amped up too much. Got to start a new streak, I guess.”

Of the 17 pitches thrown to Trout, 11 were balls, one was a called strike and two were hit foul. The one called strike came in the fifth inning, against McCarty, a six-pitch at-bat for Trout. The Angels lost 3-1.

“He just missed one [good pitch] it looked like,” interim manager Phil Nevin told reporters in Cleveland of Trout’s home run streak — which started on Sept. 4 against the Houston Astros — after the game. “And then Karinchak made some good pitches on him.

“He’ll start another one.”

Trout is one of just nine players to homer in seven consecutive games. The record of eight is held by Ken Griffey Jr., who accomplished the feat in 1993 with the Seattle Mariners, Don Mattingly with the New York Yankees in 1987 and Dale Long with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1956.

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“If I was a fan, I’d be glued to my seat in the hopes he would hit eight,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said of Trout. “Since I’m glued to my seat there, I hope he doesn’t. But he’s good for the game. He’s actually great for the game.”

Trout has proved just how good he feels and how much improved he has been since spending more than a month sidelined with a back injury.

In the 21 games he played before Tuesday, he batted .313 with a 1.114 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Of his 26 hits in that span, 11 were home runs and three were doubles. He also contributed 18 RBIs in addition to scoring 17 runs. However, the Angels were just 10-11 in those games.

Angels' Mike Trout reacts after flying out during the eighth inning of the team's game against the Cleveland Guardians.
Angels’ Mike Trout reacts after flying out during the eighth inning of the team’s game against the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday in Cleveland.
(David Dermer / Associated Press)

Trout’s 35 home runs — tied with St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt for fourth most in the majors entering Tuesday — are more than he hit in the previous two seasons combined. He hit 17 in 53 games during a 2020 season shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just eight in 36 games during a 2021 season derailed by a right calf strain.

The previous time he hit more than 30 home runs in a season was 2019, when he hit 45 in winning his third American League most valuable player award.

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Trout’s uptick in home runs also sparked a narrative that he and Shohei Ohtani have been motivating each other in a little competition to hit the most home runs on the team. Ohtani, the reigning AL MVP, has 34. They’ve both homered in a game eight times this season.

“It’s been cool,” Trout recently said of those games. “A lot of people, especially the last couple days, are saying we’re pushing each other for the home run lead and that’s pretty cool.

“I’m not trying to go up there and hit a home run. He isn’t either. It’s just having good at-bats.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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