ANAHEIM -- Felix Hernandez shook off flu-like symptoms that postponed his start for a day and took the mound against the Los Angeles Angels Saturday night. But it was the Angels' offense that lost some of its pallor. Cliff Pennington and Mike Trout hit home runs off Hernandez as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 at Angel Stadium. Even with the four runs in Saturday's win, the Angels have scored the fewest runs in the majors (53) through their first 18 games. Their 11 home runs also rank last in the American League. Trout's home run came one at-bat after he fouled a Hernandez pitch off his back foot. "I wasn't going to come out of the game but it was bothering me all game," Trout said after the game. "It's still pretty sore but I should be good to go tomorrow." He was good to go sooner than that. He finished off that at-bat with a double and then added a two-run home run in the sixth inning. "You know Trout -- he's a good hitter. You can't miss in," Hernandez said. "I always do a lot of things differently (when facing Trout). I try to go fastballs. I try to go breaking balls. He's a good hitter. He's got a good approach against me. That's why he's got good numbers." In fact, Trout has better numbers against Hernandez than anyone else who has faced the Mariners ace more than 50 times. Saturday's home run was Trout's fifth off Hernandez, the most he has hit off any individual pitcher. Trout has hit .368 (25 for 68) in his career against the Mariners ace, the highest average for any batter with more than 50 at-bats against Hernandez. "It's a battle every time," Trout said of facing Hernandez. "He's obviously one of the best pitchers in the league. For the past couple years, he really dominates. When he's got his stuff working, he's tough to hit." Hernandez wasn't at full strength Saturday. He was scheduled to start Friday against the Angels but had the assignment pushed back a day due to illness. He seemed strong enough to keep the Angels' weak lineup at bay Saturday except for the two home runs. Trout's shot was not stunning, given his history with Hernandez. But Pennington's was a bit of a shock. The light-hitting infielder had just six home runs in his 798 plate appearances before ambushing Hernandez with a leadoff home run in the third inning. Pennington jumped on a first-pitch slider from Hernandez, curling it around the right-field foul pole and into the seats. Three innings later, Nelson Cruz gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead with a solo home run of his own off Angels starter Hector Santiago. It was the second consecutive game in which Cruz has homered in this series -- nothing new in his career against the Angels. Cruz has 30 home runs in 133 career games against the Angels, easily his highest total against any opponent. But the lead didn't last. Rafael Ortega led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single then Trout crushed a 1-0 sinker from Hernandez onto the hitting backdrop in straightaway center field. The two-run shot traveled an estimated 435 feet. "I was just trying to get a pitch to hit, just stay up the middle," Trout said. "If you don't hit that pitch or foul it off, he's got you in a hole." The offensive fireworks were done for the night after Trout's drive. Hernandez went seven innings, allowing just five hits while striking out four. The Angels added an insurance run in the eighth while their bullpen followed Santiago's six strong innings with three scoreless to close out the win. NOTES: The Mariners' eight wins have all been credited to different pitchers. ... With RHP Felix Hernandez's start moved back to Saturday due to illness, Hernandez will not pitch during the Mariners' upcoming series against the Houston Astros. With an off-day Thursday, Hernandez will get an extra day's rest before his next start (Friday against the Kansas City Royals). RHPs Taijuan Walker, Nathan Karns and Hisashi Iwakuma will start the three games against the Astros. ... The Angels have scored the fewest runs in the majors (53) but manager Mike Scioscia said he sees "tons" of upside in the Angels' lineup. "Some of the tools we have on the offensive side haven't even come out yet," Scioscia said. He pointed to a very low batting average on balls in play (BABIP) as one sign that things will improve. "We're hitting the ball," he said. "We're just not finding holes." The Angels had struck out the fewest times in the majors. ... Angels CF Mike Trout went into Saturday's game hitless in his first 13 plate appearances with runners in scoring position this season.
Angels score enough to defeat Mariners' Hernandez
The Sports Xchange | Apr 24