ANAHEIM -- Rangers pitcher Lance Lynn said there was a reason Angels outfielder Mike Trout hit a home run off him in the sixth inning Friday night.
“I threw the ball right down the middle,” Lynn said after Trout’s two home runs handed the Rangers a 3-1 loss and ended their three-game win streak.
“He did what he was supposed to do,” Lynn added. “He just got 430 million reasons to hit the ball out of the ballpark.”
What kind of pitch was it?
“Terrible pitch,” Lynn said.
The score was 1-1 with Trout leading off the inning, and Lynn fell behind 2-0 in the count. So what was his approach to Trout?
“To not let him a homer,” Lynn said. “Get back in the count. And it didn’t work out.”
So the pitch was supposed to be where?
“Not there,” Lynn said. “I see these guys a lot, so I’m not telling…”
How about pitching around Trout?
“I don’t try to pitch around anyone,” Lynn said. “It’s not in my DNA.”
Said Rangers manager Chris Woodward: “Lance pitched his tail off. He’s a competitor. He’s not going to give in. That’s what we love about him.”
Lynn had reason not to back down. Trout flied out and grounded into a double play in his first two at-bats off Lynn. He was also 1-for-11 in his career against him, so Trout was expecting a tough matchup in the sixth.
"He was painting both corners,” Trout said. “It was a tough at-bat. Obviously, the one I hit was more middle than probably he'd like, but it was a battle. He'd throw a sinker in there, throw a four-seam and then mix in that cutter. He throws a lot of fastballs, so you know what you're getting. Sometimes, that can hurt you because you go up there and you know you're getting a fastball, so you try to swing too hard.”
Lynn wasn’t the only one who didn’t pitch around Trout. Reliever Jesse Chavez, an 11-year veteran, fell behind 3-1 in the count to Trout in the eighth inning and paid the same price as Lynn.
“Yeah, listen, I don’t think they’re trying to throw a ball where they did,” Woodward said. “But, yeah, he is the best player in the game. The guys behind him aren’t.”
Woodward said the Rangers talked in their pregame meetings not to let Trout be the one who beat them. Easier said than done.
“Unfortunately, we made a couple of mistakes tonight and he beat us,” Woodward said. “It’s going to happen at times but hopefully we are going to learn from that. Next time, make the guy behind him do it.”
Trout said he doesn’t go to the plate expecting opposing teams to walk him.
“Because then if they do throw in there, you're not going to hit it,” Trout said. “I've just got the mindset that they're always going to throw to me and take my walks. But tonight, just got in a good position to hit and I didn't miss them."
There will be a next time for the Rangers and many more after that. Trout just signed a $426.5 million extension that keeps him under contract with the Angels through 2030.
“He is a special player,” Woodward said. “It’s not as easy as he makes it look.”
The Rangers’ run came in the fourth on Joey Gallo’s third home run of the season. Gallo’s homer was another classic moonshot with an exit velocity of 109 mph and a 40 degree launch angle. That was even higher than the 33 degree shot to center field he hit Thursday night. Since the beginning of 2017, Gallo has 16 home runs with a launch angle of 35 degrees or higher, one behind Paul Goldschmidt for the most in the Major Leagues.