Trout fell just shy of tying the record of eight consecutive games with a home run held by Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly ('87) and Ken Griffey Jr. ('93). He became the first player to homer in seven straight since Joey Votto last year and the first AL player to do it since Kendrys Morales in 2018.
Trout, a three-time AL MVP and 10-time All-Star, said he couldn’t help but think about trying for a homer in his last at-bat against reliever James Karinchak, as he knew what was at stake.
“My first three at-bats, I wasn’t [trying to hit a homer,] but my last at-bat I was,” Trout said. “It’s just the nature of the thing, I guess. If I’m thinking home run, it’s not good. As you saw, I chased some pitches and was amped up too much. I just got to start a new streak, I guess.”
Trout’s streak began on Sept. 4 with a solo homer against the Astros before he homered in three straight games against the Tigers from Sept. 5-7. He tied Bobby Bonds’ club record of five consecutive games with a homer in Houston on Friday and broke the record with another blast on Saturday. Trout was held out of the lineup on Sunday and then went deep with a two-run shot in the series opener on Monday against the Guardians.
The only other time he can remember swinging for the fences the way he did Tuesday was was when he completed the cycle on May 21, 2013.
“This one was a little bit different because of the buildup,” Trout said. “I’m not going to lie, I’ve been thinking about it, for sure. Everyone’s texting me, you guys are asking questions. It’s just hard not to think about the streaks in Major League history. Not even just home runs. Like, it’s hard for a 10-game hit streak, let alone 56 games. It’s just ridiculous. You’re always thinking about it.”
Trout has hit 35 homers in just 101 games this season. He missed a little more than a month with a back/rib cage injury before returning on Aug. 19, and he’s been on a hot streak ever since, proving his back is just fine.
Trout, 30, is slashing .277/.367/.628 with 35 homers, 20 doubles and 69 RBIs. He’s also slashed .302/.362/.721 with 11 homers and 18 RBIs in 22 games since returning from the injured list.
Trout didn’t get much to hit in his first two at-bats against Guardians rookie right-hander Cody Morris, who was making just his third career start. In the first, Trout got ahead in the count, 2-0, but flied to right on a cutter away and outside of the zone. In his second plate appearance in the third, Trout walked on four pitches.
“I had a few pitches I could’ve hit, but my timing was a little off and I got a little too big,” Trout said. “I think in the first inning, the 2-0 pitch, it was a good pitch and it cut away a little bit. I just got it off the end.”
Trout opened his third at-bat in the fifth against lefty reliever Kirk McCarty with a 3-0 count but took a cutter for a called strike and fouled a fastball back before lining out to center on a 3-2 cutter at the top of the zone.
“Trout didn’t get a lot [of pitches to hit] and it looked like he just missed one,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “Now he can start another streak.”
Trout’s final chance to make history came in the eighth, when he faced Karinchak. Trout fouled back a first-pitch fastball, took two pitches for balls and then flied out to right on a fastball up and out of the zone.
“He’s got good stuff,” Trout said. “There’s a lot of things coming at you. There's a lot of body parts flying around out there with him pitching. If you're geared up and you’re trying to hit the ball far, he throws pretty hard. So you have to have your approach and go from there, but I got too big.”