ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout made his 250th career homer a memorable one in a 6-3 win over the Royals on Saturday night, as he absolutely crushed a solo homer in the first inning off Royals right-hander Jakob Junis that traveled a projected 473 feet, per Statcast.
Trout, who hadn’t homered since Sunday, jumped all over a 2-2 fastball from Junis, depositing it to deep left field beyond the bullpens. His 10th homer of the season had an exit velocity of 112.8 mph at a launch angle of 27 degrees, according to Statcast.
"I didn’t really see it land," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said with a smile. "As soon as he hit I knew it was gone, so I stopped watching."
It’s the second-longest homer from Trout that Statcast has recorded, as his best is a 477-foot shot off lefty Chris Rusin on July 8, 2015, at Coors Field. Trout now has the top two longest homers hit by an Angels player since Statcast was introduced in 2015. It was also the third-longest homer in the Majors this year, trailing the Rangers' Nomar Mazara (482 feet) and the Pirates' Josh Bell (474).
With his 250th career homer, Trout became the sixth American League player ever to reach that mark before turning 28, joining Alex Rodriguez, Jimmie Foxx, Ken Griffey Jr., Mickey Mantle and Juan Gonzalez. He’s the 13th player overall to reach the mark by his age-27 season.
Canning, Ohtani come up big
Trout, though, wasn’t the only Angels player to have a big night, as rookie right-hander Griffin Canning turned in the best outing of his young career and Shohei Ohtani hit his second homer of the season and his first at home.
Canning, making his fourth career start, threw seven scoreless innings, scattering just three hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He’s shown an elite ability to miss bats and induced 16 swings and misses, including four with his fastball that touched 95.1 mph, six with his slider, four with his curveball and two with his changeup.
"Two things [stood out], the strike-throwing ability and the use of all his pitches, including his changeup," Ausmus said. "That’s the best we’ve seen his changeup since we called him up. We know the slider is the best breaking ball and he uses the curveball quite a bit, but we haven’t seen the changeup, especially in tough counts. Not only to be effective with it but to get that many swings and misses."
Canning, whose previous career-high was 5 1/3 innings against the Tigers on May 7, said the key was attacking hitters with his pitches and trusting his stuff. Canning, ranked as the club’s No. 2 prospect and No. 56 overall by MLB Pipeline, has struck out 24 batters in 21 1/3 innings to go along with a 3.80 ERA.
"Just not being super tentative, just kind of letting my stuff work in the zone,” Canning said. “I threw first-pitch strikes, had fastball command.”
Ohtani helped Canning with a two-run homer in the sixth off Junis that was hit high and deep to right field. It had a launch angle of 39 degrees, which is the highest by an Angels player on a homer this year and the fourth-highest dating back to last year.
Ohtani is now hitting .286/.362/.429 with two homers and eight RBIs in 10 games since returning as a designated hitter after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Oct 1. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year said he’s been seeing the ball well since coming back, but it’s about getting his timing back.
“My swing is getting better little by little each at-bat I take,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “Last night I got a jam base hit to left field. Today, I got a [pitch in the] middle and I was able to pull it out to right for the home run. It is getting better by the day.”