Trout hits game-winning HR -- twice in one day

June 19th, 2022

SEATTLE -- If the Angels are going to bounce back from a disastrous stretch that saw them lose 18 of 20 games heading into their five-game series against the Mariners, they’re going to need to count on superstar Mike Trout to carry them for stretches the rest of the way.

Trout has been doing just that of late and continued to torment the Mariners, as he homered in both games of a doubleheader to lead the Halos to a 4-2 win in Game 1 and a 3-0 victory in Game 2 on Saturday at T-Mobile Park. It marked the 12th time an Angels player homered in both games of a twin bill, and the first time since Albert Pujols on July 20, 2015, against the Red Sox.

It gave the Angels their first series victory since May 20-22 against the A’s and their first road series win since May 13-15 in Oakland. Trout was also the hero offensively in Thursday's opener, when he hit a pair of two-run homers in a 4-1 win. Trout now has 51 career homers against the Mariners, which is the second most against the franchise behind only Rafael Palmeiro (52).

"It's incredible -- guys keep pitching to him and it's hilarious,” said reliever Jimmy Herget, who threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win in Game 2. “He's the best player on the planet -- or one of the best players on the planet. We have another one [Shohei Ohtani] here, too."

Trout’s second homer Saturday came in the third inning off Mariners lefty Tommy Milone. It was the team-leading 20th homer of the season for Trout, who also leads the club with 41 RBIs in 60 games, and his 32nd career homer at T-Mobile Park, which is the most by an opposing player. Jared Walsh later smacked a pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh to give the Angels some cushion.

In the first game, the Angels had a runner on third base with two outs in the 10th and it looked like Trout would be intentionally walked. The Mariners opted to pitch to Trout, and he came through with a homer that proved to be the difference.

"It felt good,” said Trout, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts heading into the at-bat. “I had been missing pitches all day. But I was able to get the barrel to it."

Trout, a three-time AL MVP and nine-time All-Star, says he enjoys hitting in Seattle because of the backdrop -- and he's certainly had plenty of success in the ballpark. He said the thought of being intentionally walked never crossed his mind as he went to the plate.

"You can't go up there thinking about that,” Trout said. “I'm thinking about hitting the whole time. If they tell me to go to first base, I go to first base. But you can't have that kind of mentality in your head, because then you're up there second-guessing."

Trout’s go-ahead blast came on a 1-1 sinker at the bottom of the zone from right-hander Diego Castillo, who had been one of the best relievers in baseball over the last month. Castillo had a scoreless streak of 10 innings going back to May 23 before serving up the homer.

Mariners manager Scott Servais explained his rationale for pitching to Trout, as it wasn’t an easy decision with two-way star Ohtani looming on deck.

"I went with our hottest pitcher, our best pitcher, so to speak, and it's Mike Trout,” Servais said. “He's certainly got us a bunch in the past. It's a tough decision. Last year's MVP is in the on-deck circle, so that weighs into the decision as well. And you know where you want to go there from the numbers standpoint, as crazy as it sounds, you like the right-hander against Trout vs. the right-hander against Ohtani."

Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said the idea that the Mariners would intentionally walk Trout was in the back of his mind, but he acknowledged it was a tough call.

"They had a lefty up in the 'pen, but it's really pick your poison right there,” Nevin said. “Shohei had just missed a couple of balls that would've been out in other places. He took some really good swings. So it's hard to say. It really wasn't that bad a pitch either. He's just Mike Trout."

Trout’s blast went a projected 411 feet to right-center field, per Statcast, and, fittingly, was caught by an Angels fan wearing a Trout jersey. Trout said he didn’t notice that the Angels fan had caught the homer, but said he saw him earlier in the game when he threw a ball up into the stands between innings.

Trout also pointed in the direction of the outfield after he got to the dugout, but he said it was to the relievers in the bullpen, who have asked him to point to them when he rounds second base as part of his new home run celebration. Trout, though, was too caught up in the moment and didn’t remember until reliever Archie Bradley reminded him in the dugout. He also forgot to point to the bullpen in Game 2 until nearing the dugout.

"They told me they want me to point, but when I went around second, I forgot,” Trout said with a laugh. “Archie told me when I got to the dugout, ‘The bullpen is looking at you.’ So I pointed, and I'm trying to add that.”