Trout homers twice, nearly makes unreal grab

July 7th, 2019

HOUSTON -- finished the first half of the season with another incredible performance that saw him crush two homers and nearly make a spectacular catch in center field, but it wasn’t enough in a wild 11-10 walk-off loss in 10 innings to the Astros in a game that lasted nearly five hours on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.

Trout, set to represent the Angels as an All-Star for the eighth time in the Midsummer Classic in Cleveland on Tuesday, homered six times over his last five games to finish the first half hitting .300/.455/.630 with 28 homers, 67 RBIs, 71 runs and eight stolen bases in 87 games. It helped the Angels post a 3-3 record on their heartbreaking road trip through Texas that began with 27-year-old left-hander Tyler Skaggs’ death on Monday.

“Considering what happened this week,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “It’s been kind of remarkable he’s been able to focus that much when he steps in the batter’s box and be this hot.”

But Angels relievers gave up a combined nine runs over five innings, including Taylor Cole surrendering a walk-off RBI single to George Springer in the 10th. Ty Buttrey also gave up two runs in the eighth after Trout gave the Angels the lead with a two-run shot in the top of the inning.

“It’s not ideal,” Ausmus said. “Our bullpen has been a strength for us all year. They just had a bad day. A couple of our guys had an off-day on the same day and it happened to be the day before the break. It’s a little sour taste in our mouths, but these guys have earned their off-days here over the next four.”

Trout’s first homer came on a solo shot in the sixth off reliever Collin McHugh, which set the franchise record for homers before an All-Star break. The previous record of 26 was held by Albert Pujols (2015), Trout (2015) and Garret Anderson (2000).

But his two-run homer off Will Harris in the eighth gave the Angels a brief lead after the Astros rallied back to tie the game with a grand slam from Yuli Gurriel in the sixth off Cam Bedrosian.

"You know, we were fighting back, they fought back," Trout said. "I looked up and it was 5:30, it was pretty late. We had chances."

The Angels raced out to an early lead with a five-run second, keyed by a two-run homer to left-center from Ohtani. Albert Pujols also joined an exclusive club with an RBI double to left, as he became the first member of the 500-homer club to reach 650 doubles. The only two players in Major League history with at least 450 homers and 650 doubles are Pujols and Hall of Famer Stan Musial (475 homers, 725 doubles).

The Astros, though, kept chipping at the lead until finally breaking through against Bedrosian in the sixth. Trout nearly made an incredible leaping catch up against the wall to rob Jose Altuve of extra bases to open the inning, but the ball made contact with the wall, giving Altuve a leadoff double. Trout thought he made the catch, as he made a bare-handed snag as he fell backward, but the Angels opted not to review it because the ball clearly hit the wall. It worsened from there with Gurriel delivering a game-tying grand slam to left.

“At first I thought he caught it,” Ausmus said of Trout’s effort in center. “I was told it actually hit the yellow stripe on the top of the wall but I’m not sure.”

The loss dropped the Angels to 45-46 heading into the All-Star break, and they still have 14 more games against Houston this year. They’re 12 1/2 games back of the Astros, but still in the periphery of the American League Wild Card chase, trailing the Indians by 6 1/2 games.

"We have to come back," Trout said. "We play them a lot in the second half, so they're going to be big games. We're right there. They're a good team ahead of us in the division. But we played three tough games with them."