ANAHEIM -- Another game, another spectacular slide from Mike Trout, who yet again displayed a combination of awareness and athleticism on the basepaths to steal a run at home despite José Bautista's throw in Sunday's 4-0 win over Toronto.
In the fifth inning, Trout managed a double on a line drive with an aggressive decision to go for second. Trout then sped for home on a single from Albert Pujols in the subsequent at-bat.
The throw from Bautista to home seemed to beat Trout, but Trout avoided the tag from Dioner Navarro by sliding well right of home plate. As Navarro extended his glove to reach for Trout, Trout snuck his left arm in under the glove to score.
"That's why he's Mike Trout. He's one of the best players in the game," Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman said. "He does it with the bat, with his legs, with the glove. He's an all-around great player and he's one of my buddies. He's definitely a nuisance out there and a tough AB. Just one of the guys that you have to do your best to limit the damage."
Trout made the sprint from second to home in 7.43 seconds, according to Statcast™, which is tied for his eighth-fastest of 2016 and not all that close to his best. Back on May 1, he jetted from second to score on a C.J. Cron single in 6.63 seconds.
The big difference between the two plays was that there was one out on Pujols' single, so Trout had to pause to see if the ball might be caught. As a result, his first step was .27 seconds, which is the time elapsed from contact to moving toward third. On May 1, however, there were two outs, and Trout was moving on contact, as Statcast™ had his first step measured at 0.00 seconds.
The other factor working in Trout's favor on Sunday was Bautista's throw did not have the kind of zip typical of his arm, and the myriad of injuries he has dealt with this year -- including turf toe and a left knee sprain -- could be a factor.
Statcast™ clocked Bautista's throw at 89.8 mph, which is more than 3 mph slower than his Statcast™ peak. Almost exactly a year ago, on Sept. 22, 2015, against the Yankees, Bautista threw out Dustin Ackley at third base with a 92.9 mph laser.
Even though Bautista's throw was well off his peak velocity, it was still in time for what should have been a simple out for Trout. Except Trout made a simple way to get him out less than simple, as he has tended to do in his career.
On Saturday, Trout was beat by another throw and ended up beating it back. He made a similar slide at third on his 26th steal of the season that left Josh Donaldson tagging air, and then scored a batter later. Trout admitted after Sunday's game that both throws had beaten him, and he knew as he slid that he would need to do something different.
"He's an athlete. Mike plays the game one way: full out," Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Whether he's running the bases or in the outfield, he gets after it and he's made some good slides."