Thaiss' 1st MLB blast leads Halos to sweep

Trout exits with right calf tightness, will undergo MRI on Monday

July 15th, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Rookie third baseman Matt Thaiss picked a good time for his first career homer, as he crushed a three-run blast in the eighth inning to lift the Angels to a 6-3 win and a three-game sweep over the Mariners on Sunday at Angel Stadium. But it wasn’t all good news, as Mike Trout left the game with right calf tightness in the third inning and will undergo an MRI exam Monday.

Thaiss, coming up to the plate with runners at the corners and two outs, jumped all over a 2-1 fastball from lefty Roenis Elias for a three-run shot to give the Angels their first lead of the game. Thaiss, who entered the game in a 0-for-13 skid, went 2-for-3 with a walk in his best showing offensively since getting called up on July 3.

"It's something I'll never forget,” Thaiss said.  "It was an awesome feeling, especially coming home and seeing the smile on Kole [Calhoun's] face. It was really cool."

Thaiss, ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has been surprisingly solid defensively at third base, considering that he just moved to the position this year after previously being moved from catcher to first base. He made a great diving stop and throw in Friday's incredible no-hitter and has more than held his own overall.

Thaiss scuffled recently offensively, but credited hitting coaches Jeremy Reed, Shawn Wooten and Paul Sorrento for keeping him positive and helping him tweak a few things in the batter’s box.

“He had a double out of the gate his first at-bat and he kind of cooled off since then,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “We've seen him hit -- the last couple weeks of Spring Training; we know he can hit. I think he kind of got away from what he does normally, which is stay in the strike zone. The last couple days, he's looked a lot better. He's started to get a little comfortable."

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Thaiss' homer was the second of the game for the Angels, who got on the board in the second with a solo homer from Calhoun, which was his 21st of the year and his second in as many days. Notably, Calhoun’s homer off Mariners starter Yusei Kikuchi was his 10th off a lefty this year.

The Angels erased an early deficit with two runs in the fifth to tie the game after loading the bases with nobody out. Andrelton Simmons drew a bases-loaded walk while Shohei Ohtani plated a run with a sacrifice fly.

Rookie left-hander Jose Suarez was mostly solid, but inefficient, allowing three runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts. He gave up an RBI single to Tom Murphy in the first and served up solo blasts to Austin Nola in the second and Domingo Santana in the third. Suarez walked just one, but threw 91 pitches, as the Mariners worked several tough at-bats against him.

“It seemed he was real hot, real cold,” Ausmus said. “He had a bunch of strikeouts. At times had trouble throwing strikes, hit a guy. It was a little bit of a mixed bag, but he was able to grind it through for four-plus and keep it at three.”

The Angels, though, were helped out by the Mariners having three batters thrown out at home, including two in the fourth inning. Mallex Smith tripled with one out in the seventh, but he was thrown out on a comebacker hit to reliever Cam Bedrosian.

Relievers Noe Ramirez, Bedrosian, Ty Buttrey and Hansel Robles combined to throw 4 2/3 scoreless innings to preserve the win. The Angels outscored the Mariners by a 28-5 margin in the three-game sweep and have the Astros next. They're hopeful Trout will be back soon, as his injury isn't considered serious, but they'll know more before Monday's series opener.

"It's a good start coming out of the break,” Trout said. “We just have to keep it going. We're playing a tough Houston team coming up. So it’s big series."