Mike Trout and Albert Pujols have batted second and third, respectively, in every game this season for the Angels. The franchise cornerstones are not going anywhere, for better or worse. The two players were hitless against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday until the bottom of the ninth inning, when Trout’s three-run home run against Brad Boxberger lifted the Angels to a 6-5 win. Trout picked a good time for the first walk-off hit of his career. It was just the second home run in a miserable month for Trout, who is batting .157 since the end of April. With the Angels trailing 5-2 in the ninth inning, Collin Cowgill’s RBI single off Rays closer Grant Balfour narrowed the gap to 5-3. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon pulled Balfour and called for the Orange County native, Boxberger, to face Trout. Trout sent Boxberger’s 1-1 pitch high over the fence in left field, setting off a raucous celebration among what remained of the announced crowd of 34,441 at Angel Stadium. Kevin Jepsen, Michael Morin and Fernando Salas (3-0) pitched one scoreless inning apiece for the Angels. Tampa Bay scored all its runs of Angels starter Tyler Skaggs. Their three-run sixth inning began when Angels third baseman Luis Jimenez dove to his left in pursuit of a hard-hit ground ball by the Rays’ Will Myers. Shortstop Erick Aybar, standing a few feet behind Jimenez, had a much better chance of knocking down the ball. But the ball glanced off Jimenez’s glove, past Aybar and into left field, allowing Logan Forsythe to score and Evan Longoria to take third base. Grant Green — not a natural left fielder — was a bit late to react and Myers slid into second base with a double. Two batters later, James Loney drove in Myers and Longoria to give Tampa Bay a 4-0 lead. Veteran left-hander Erik Bedard limited the Angels to four hits, one walk and two runs — neither was earned — in 5 2/3 innings. He got help when Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings robbed C.J. Cron of a potential home run at the top of the fence in the fourth inning, and again when Brandon Guyer tagged Skaggs for a solo home run in the seventh to give Tampa Bay a 5-2 lead. Skaggs surrendered eight hits and five runs, all earned, in six innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Mike Trout’s walk-off homer lifts Angels over Tampa Bay
L.A. Daily News | May 16