Easy as 1, 2, 3; Angels blast 3 consecutive homers

April 23rd, 2023

ANAHEIM -- It was comfort food and a favorite movie all rolled into one Sunday as the Angels received the boost they needed from yet another power show by from and .

After lit the fuse in the sixth inning with a leadoff home run to left, Trout and Ohtani followed that up with their own solo shots to give the Angels three consecutive home runs and power a 4-3 victory over the Royals at Angel Stadium.

The Angels went from a 2-1 deficit to a 4-2 lead by hitting back-to-back-to-back homers for the first time since June 8, 2019. Tommy La Stella hit the first one in the trio that day. The duo that followed? Trout and Ohtani.

After going 10 consecutive games without a home run, Trout has now gone deep in two straight games. Ohtani had just one home run in his previous 11 games before launching one into the seats in right-center.

Ward’s home run was his first in a span of 17 games and third of the season. All three blasts came off Royals right-hander Jordan Lyles, who finished off the inning but was done for the day afterward. Lyles had given up just one other run and one hit over his first five innings.

The team’s two-week old samurai warrior helmet, used to celebrate home runs, was passed from head to head to head for the first time.

“That was the first time I put the hat on a guy that hit a homer, but it was cool because (Ward) gave it to me, then I gave it to Sho,” Trout said.

The sunbaked crowd only grew louder in the inning, giving plenty to cheer about after a rough morning when it was learned that promising rookie catcher would miss 4-6 months with a labrum injury in his left shoulder.

In the downtrodden pregame clubhouse, Trout not only spent time giving O’Hoppe a pep talk, but he also told Ward to expect something special in Sunday’s game.

“I went up to him before the game and told him he was going to have a big day, and he sure did,” Trout said.

As for O’Hoppe, Trout relayed his own experiences of working through injuries.

“Just trying to keep it positive,” Trout said. “Just a little bump in the road. He did everything right. Just freak things happen sometimes.”

The catcher who replaced O’Hoppe on the roster, , did his part by guiding left-hander from a rough start into a solid outing. And a bullpen that crumbled to pieces in Saturday’s 11-8 loss to the Royals finished off Sunday’s victory in style.

After Angels left-hander gave up five ninth-inning runs to take the loss Saturday, returned from a night off and earned his third save Sunday with a perfect ninth inning.

“Games like [Saturday] night are going to leave a little sour taste in your mouth, but winning today helps,” manager Phil Nevin said. “You get to get out of here early, at least for me. I get to go see the grandbabies.”

While Trout was able to receive the samurai warrior helmet and pass it along, Ward was only able to take part in some of the celebration. After passing the helmet on to Trout, he said he was in the restroom when Ohtani went deep.

But it did not lessen his excitement for the moment.

“We’ve just got to keep doing our thing out there,” said Ward, who was 1-for-12 over his previous four games. “I think I have been consistently late, and I’ve been trying to work on that. … Being on time, I just keep hammering that [thought].”

Trout crushed a pair of homers in consecutive games after he was given the day off in Friday’s series opener.

“I think it was good," Trout said. “I came in, did my routine in like the sixth inning. [Nevin] told me the scenarios, ‘If this happens you’re going to hit, otherwise take the day off.’ It’s good to have reset days, especially after traveling 5 and a half hours on a flight.”