ANAHEIM -- Andrelton Simmons and Eric Young homered to power the Angels to a 6-2 win over the Tigers in Monday's series opener at Angel Stadium, though the night was dampened by Nick Tropeano's early exit with right shoulder tightness.Tropeano cruised through five innings of one-hit ball and retired the
ANAHEIM -- Andrelton Simmons and Eric Young homered to power the Angels to a 6-2 win over the Tigers in Monday's series opener at Angel Stadium, though the night was dampened by Nick Tropeano's early exit with right shoulder tightness.
Tropeano cruised through five innings of one-hit ball and retired the final eight batters he faced before being abruptly lifted with his pitch count at 62. The 27-year-old said he began to experience stiffness in his shoulder during his pregame warmups and tried to push through it before disclosing the ailment to the team.
"He was grinding it early," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It got a little looser, but it just seemed like he wasn't able to finish his pitches as the game went on. Obviously, we didn't want to extend it and put him at risk. He just battled his way through five innings."
Tropeano has already endured two stints on the disabled list because of shoulder issues this season, the second of which caused him to miss 31 games, but he said he's optimistic that he'll be able to avoid missing time this time around. He's planning on taking the next two days off to see if the discomfort will subside enough to allow him to make his next scheduled start against the A's on Sunday.
"Obviously, this was something I was battling, so they wanted to take precautionary [measures] and pull me right then and there," Tropeano said. "We're going to take it day by day. I don't think we're going to assume it's a DL stint or anything like that. Right now it just felt stiff, felt limited. I think we're just going to be playing it by ear over the next couple days."
Buoyed by home runs from Simmons and Young, Tropeano turned a 4-1 lead over to the Angels' bullpen in the sixth and immediately saw it imperiled. Noe Ramirez replaced Tropeano and allowed all four batters he faced to reach base. The Tigers loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks before Jose Iglesias lined an RBI single to center field to cut the Angels' lead to 4-2.
With the bases still loaded and no outs, Scioscia opted to pull Ramirez in favor of Cam Bedrosian, who struck out Nicholas Castellanos looking and then induced a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play from Jeimer Candelario to extricate himself from the jam and preserve the Angels' lead.
"Big situation, big time in the game," Scioscia said. "They had the tying run on second at that point, It was getting late enough in the game where runs are obviously going to swing the game one way or the other. For him to get out of that inning with no more damage really set us up well."
Monday's win comes on the heels of the Angels' (56-58) disappointing 1-5 road trip to Tampa and Cleveland, a stretch that was made all the more difficult after Michael Trout sustained a right wrist contusion on Wednesday. Trout sat out his fifth consecutive game on Monday, but the Angels received a key lift from the bottom half of their lineup, as Simmons, Jose Briceno, Kaleb Cowart and Young combined to go 7-for-12 with two homers and five RBIs.
"It was good," said Simmons, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. "We had a tough road trip, missing Mike a little bit. We talked about it. We needed the big bats. We needed to hit a couple homers to fill in for Mike."
Castellanos gave the Tigers an early 1-0 lead by homering to right field in the first inning, but the Angels tied it on Cowart's RBI double off Detroit left-hander Matthew Boyd in the second.
After Simmons and Briceno strung together back-to-back singles with two outs, Cowart lined a 1-2 fastball over the head of left fielder Victor Reyes, plating Simmons from third. Cowart had entered Monday just 2-for-22 (.091) in 10 games with the Angels this season.
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In the fourth, Simmons launched a two-run homer off Boyd to snap the 1-1 tie and give the Angels their first lead of the night. Jose Pujols led off the inning with a single to center field, and two batters later Simmons whacked a 2-0 fastball to left field for his seventh home run of the season and a 3-1 lead. It was Simmons' first home run since July 3.
Young, who has been starting in center field in Trout's absence, extended the Angels' lead by leading off the fifth with his first home run of the season. Young crushed a 3-1 fastball from Boyd, depositing it 423 feet into the rock formation in center field to make it 4-1.
"Anytime I get a chance to suit up and go out there and play in a Major League game, you want to take advantage of any opportunity," Young said. "You don't know how long you're blessed to play this game, and every time you go out there you want to give it everything you've got."
The Angels added their final two runs in the seventh after Briceno singled and Cowart doubled to set up Young's sacrifice fly and David Fletcher's run-scoring groundout.
"I think we pressured them a lot," Scioscia said. "I think it was great to see the guys at the bottom [of the lineup] do what they did. We needed it tonight, for sure."
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In addition to their home runs, Simmons and Young seemingly tried to outdo each other by making a pair of impressive diving plays in the eighth. James McCann led off the inning by blistering a 102-mph liner toward left field, but Simmons made a brilliant leaping catch to snag the ball for the first out. Iglesias later sent a deep drive to center field, but Young made a sensational diving catch at the warning track for the final out of the inning.
"We've been playing together since the Braves days, so we have a pretty good relationship," Young said. "It's always fun coming to work with him."
Added Simmons: "His diving play was way better. And his homer was a little further than mine."
Left-hander Andrew Heaney (6-7, 3.75 ERA) will start opposite right-hander Jacob Turner on Tuesday as the Angels and Tigers continue their three-game series at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Heaney faced the Tigers on May 31 in Detroit and was charged with the loss after giving up five runs over five innings. He is 6-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 10 starts at Angel Stadium this season.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.