Crack, crack of the bat: Trout's double contact brings RBI single

August 23rd, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG -- Angels superstar picked up his first RBI since returning from his back/rib cage injury on Friday, and it came in an unusual way in a 2-1 loss to the Rays on Monday.

Trout dropped in what appeared to be a routine bloop single in the fifth inning, but upon further review, he actually hit the ball twice. Trout connected on a 3-2 slider from lefty Jeffrey Springs with the ball first hitting the inside part of his bat before going off the end and safely into left-center for a single to score Andrew Velazquez from second base.

Trout said that he had hit a ball twice on a swing with a broken bat before but never on a normal swing, and he couldn’t explain exactly what happened. He thought he'd hit it twice, and told first-base coach Damon Mashore as much when he reached first base.

Trout became the first player to hit a ball twice in a game since Minnesota's Gary Sánchez did so on Aug. 2 of this season.

“I couldn’t tell you,” Trout said of how it happened. “I got to first base and I told Mashore I thought I hit the ball twice. It just didn’t feel right. When I hit the ball, I knew something was weird. And the flight of the ball was weird, too. It wasn’t like a true flight. And that’s why I told Mashore I thought I hit it twice. And when I came back to the cage, they were like, ‘Yep.’ I couldn’t really tell on the iPad, but they saw the slo-mo.”

Trout, who returned to the lineup on Friday after missing a month, appeared confused by the way the ball went off his bat after he made contact. It was his fourth hit in four games since returning from the injured list; he’s hitting .267 over that stretch.

“I’m just getting back into the swing of things,” he said. "My body feels good. Being off for a month, sometimes the timing is off. But it’s starting to come back. I’m feeling good.”

Springs also seemed to be in disbelief after the hit and was seen talking to Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder in the home dugout after the inning. Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said it reminded him of a Hunter Pence hit in Game 7 of the 2012 NLCS that appeared to hit Pence’s bat three times before it brought home three runs with a double.

“I got in a jam, and obviously he's one of the best -- if not the best -- hitter in the game,” Springs said. “I felt like I made the pitch I wanted to make. He doesn't swing and miss very much, and he was able to hit it. I didn't realize he hit it twice until I came in, but he just was able to put it in a spot that we weren't. Hats off to him for getting to it, but yeah, a little frustrating. I felt like I made my pitch and was gonna get out of it. It is what it is."

Trout started the game at DH, as two-way star Shohei Ohtani was held out of the lineup after dealing with a stomach virus on Sunday. Trout will play center field on both Tuesday and Wednesday but will be out of the lineup on Thursday, according to Nevin.

The Angels are trying to be cautious with Trout, especially considering they are playing seven games on artificial turf this week at Tropicana Field and Rogers Centre. Nevin plans to give each position player at least one day off this week.

Trout’s RBI single was all the Angels could muster against the Rays, as their offense continued to scuffle with five combined runs over their last four games. They went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, including Luis Rengifo popping out with two runners on after Trout’s RBI single. Ohtani came in as a pinch-hitter with two on and two outs in the sixth but struck out on a 1-2 changeup from lefty Jalen Beeks.

“Mike’s hit happened with two outs and Luis just missed a pitch, popping it up to second,” Nevin said. “And when Shohei hit, the first pitch of the at-bat, we thought it should’ve been a 1-0 count, and that’s a huge difference. But that’s part of the game. It turns it into a tougher at-bat. It was our best chance to punch one across there.”