Slugger Mike Trout has been brilliant on offense over the past seven games, becoming the sixth player in American League history with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in that span.
Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus said the fact that Trout has been able to produce following the death of teammate Tyler Skaggs is even more telling about him as a player and person.
Trout hit a two-run home run and the Angels followed up a no-hitter with a 9-2 win over the Mariners on Saturday night.
“The way he’s playing the game speaks for itself,” Ausmus said. “A leader by example on a daily basis. Forget the offensive numbers, just watch how he goes about his business. He’s carried some weight on his shoulders here these last two weeks.”
Albert Pujols had four RBIs and David Fletcher added two RBIs for the Angels, who have won their first two home games since the death of Skaggs, who would have turned 28 Saturday.
Before the game, the Angels placed the ball from the final out of their combined no-hitter on Friday in Skaggs’ locker.
Angels reliever Noe Ramirez used his hat to catch Trout’s 30th home run of the season, a 409-foot shot into the bullpen in left field in the third inning that pushed the lead to 5-0. Trout broke his own team record for fewest games needed to hit 30 homers, reaching the mark in 93 games, compared to the 98 games he needed in 2015.
“The pitch to Trout was a 2-0 backdoor cutter on the corner and he pulled that,” Mariners pitcher Wade LeBlanc said. “There aren’t too many guys who are able to do what he did on that pitch.”
Trout is hitting .392 (20 for 51) with six homers and 18 RBIs against the Mariners this season, including going 4 for 8 with two home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs in the first two games of this series.
“Unfortunately, he has done a lot of damage against us,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “You have to be really careful against him.”
Pujols and Kole Calhoun also did their part with the long ball, helping the Angels outscore the Mariners 22-2 in the first two games at Angel Stadium since Skaggs was found unresponsive in his hotel room on July 1.
Pujols got the Angels on the board in the second inning with a ground ball through the gap at first that scored Andrelton Simmons. Calhoun followed with his 20th homer of the season, a line drive to center field that made it 2-0.
Pujols hit a three-run shot in the seventh inning. It was his 647th homer and moved him within three of Willie Mays for fifth place on the career list.
Matt Harvey (3-4) gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings after being activated off the injured list earlier on Saturday. It was his first start since May 23 against Minnesota.
LeBlanc (5-3) allowed six runs on 10 hits in four innings to end a stretch of eight consecutive appearances without taking the loss.
For Harvey, who recalled Skaggs as being one of his biggest supporters while trying to recover from a recent back strain, as well as regain the dominant form he showed when pitching for the New York Mets, what the Angels have accomplished over the past two nights reflects the widespread admiration for their teammate.
“With everything that happened yesterday, I mean that was the most incredible I’ve ever experienced,” Harvey said. “The guys came out hot and that was fun to watch, obviously. And to continue to do it tonight, it’s been a good start for us for the second half and we want to keep that going, keep our energy going. Do it for our buddy.”
JOIN THE CLUB
Babe Ruth, Hank Greenberg, Don Mattingly, Manny Ramirez and Josh Hamilton are the other five American League players with at least eight homers and 18 RBIs during a seven-game span.
Trout has hit safely in all seven games. He is hitting .429 (12 for 28), and all but two of his hits have gone for extra bases.
The Angels designated OF Jarrett Parker for assignment, with Harvey coming off the injured list. Parker went 0 for 12 with three walks in five games.
Mariners: OF Braden Bishop has been cleared to resume physical activity after undergoing surgery to repair a lacerated spleen on June 5. “He’s probably a long ways away from game action, but he’ll start doing real workouts and stuff like that,” manager Scott Servais said. ... INF Ryon Healy (back) has resumed baseball activities. Healy has not played since May 20 because of spinal stenosis.
Angels: RHP JC Ramírez (elbow) will make at least one more start at Triple-A Salt Lake, manager Brad Ausmus said. Ramírez had Tommy John surgery in April 2018. ... RHP Keynan Middleton (elbow) will move his rehab assignment to Triple-A on Monday. Middleton had Tommy John surgery in May 2018.
Mariners LHP Yusei Kikuchi (4-6, 4.94 ERA) has allowed at least four earned runs in each of his three starts against the Angels, giving up six runs in 3 1/3 innings during a 12-3 loss in Anaheim on June 8. The Angels are looking for LHP José Suarez (2-1, 5.40) to bounce back after going just 3 1/3 innings at Houston on Sunday, his shortest outing in six starts.