'I feel like myself again': Trout's two taters get him back in rhythm

Neto provides much-needed spark at top of Halos' lineup

April 30th, 2023

MILWAUKEE -- is getting hot at the plate, and that could spell big trouble for opposing pitchers.

On a night when the Angels struggled to score runs early, Trout caught fire late and nearly changed the game’s outcome.

With the Angels facing a six-run deficit, Trout belted two-run homers in the eighth and ninth innings and forced the Brewers to turn to their closer Devin Williams before Los Angeles eventually fell, 7-5, on Saturday night at American Family Field. After Trout’s second homer, singled and hit a drive to deep right-center that was caught near the wall for the final out, but not before putting a scare into the home crowd.

"The last few days, I feel like myself again,” Trout said.

This marked the first time Trout has hit homers in back-to-back innings. It was the 25th multihomer game of his career, the most in Angels’ history, and his first this season. Trout’s nine multihit games are tied with Ohtani for most on the team this season.

“We had our chances today. I know it looked like it got away from us, but we were in that game,” manager Phil Nevin said. “I love the fight.”

Trout has hits in 12 of his last 14 games, a stretch in which he’s hitting .361 with seven doubles, four home runs and nine RBIs.

“That’s just Mike Trout. He’s starting to dial it in,” said rookie shortstop , who was moved into the leadoff spot immediately in front of Trout on Saturday. “He’s seeing the ball very well. I just want to be able to get on base for him and be able to get him an extra RBI.”

Neto did his part, too, reaching base safely three times and a fourth time on a fielder's choice. His early-season performance has quickly earned Nevin’s trust.

He smacked the first pitch he saw in the game from 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes into left field for a single.

Neto was 2-for-3 at the plate in Friday night’s game, prompting Nevin to move him to the top of the order, a spot that had been occupied by , who has been scuffling as of late.

“It’s more trying to find the right fit for the moment,” Nevin said. “Nothing’s etched in stone with any spot in the lineup, but [Neto] has been swinging the bat great.”

Neto reached again against Burnes in the third inning, but did so in a painful way. Burnes’ second offering, a 95 mph sinker, hit him in the right forearm. Trainers examined Neto, who was in obvious pain, for a few minutes before he eventually made his way to first. The shortstop was sporting a forearm compression wrap in the clubhouse after the game.

“It got me good, but I’m doing fine,” Neto said.

It marked the seventh time that Neto has been hit by a pitch this year, the most in AL/NL history through a player's first 15 games since 1901.

“I get up on the plate pretty good. It’s just my approach,” Neto said.

Neto reached base again in the fifth on a fielder’s choice, which moved Gio Urshela to third. Trout then hit a deep fly to left-center for a sacrifice fly that gave the Angels their first run.

In a surprising move, the Angels called up Neto earlier this month from Double-A Rocket City in an early-season roster shakeup.

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the club’s No. 2 prospect, the 22-year-old became the first 2022 Draft pick to reach the Majors.

Neto’s productive night continued with a leadoff single in the eighth off Elvis Peguero. Trout followed with a Statcast-projected 428-foot home run to straightaway center to cut the Brewers' lead to 7-3.

Neto nearly reached base again while batting with one out in the ninth when he lined a shot back up the middle that Brewers reliever Bryse Wilson got a glove on and was able to throw out Neto at first. Trout followed with his second homer.

“I’m just trying to do a job and set the tone nice and early,” Neto said. “Just keep being able to get those hits when we need them and keep giving it to the meat of the order, and then things can happen.”

Neto’s performance earned him another shot at the leadoff spot.

“I think I’m going to put him there again [Sunday],” Nevin said, smiling. “I love the way he plays. A lot of energy. He’s a special guy up there at the top.”