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Trout (34), Ohtani (20) hit back-to-back blasts

Upton adds pair of homers but Angels fall short vs. Seattle
September 15, 2018

ANAHEIM -- Michael Trout and Shohei Ohtani hit back-to-back home runs for the first time and Justin Upton added a pair of solo shots, but it wasn't enough in the Angels' 6-5 loss to the Mariners on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.The Mariners erased an early four-run deficit by rallying

ANAHEIM -- Michael Trout and Shohei Ohtani hit back-to-back home runs for the first time and Justin Upton added a pair of solo shots, but it wasn't enough in the Angels' 6-5 loss to the Mariners on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
The Mariners erased an early four-run deficit by rallying to score six runs, capped by Robinson Cano's three-run double in the eighth inning. Upton launched his second home run of the night to bring the Angels within one in the ninth, but Seattle closer Edwin Diaz closed it out to convert his 55th save of the season.

The stinging loss dulled some of the excitement that had been generated by Trout and Ohtani's milestone blasts in the first inning, a feat that didn't occur until the 149th game of the season.
Trout put the Angels on the board by hammering a two-run homer into the visitor's bullpen in left field for his 34th home run of the season. Ohtani followed by driving a homer to center field for his 20th of the year, giving the Angels a quick 3-0 lead against Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez.
"We've seen it all year what those guys are doing," left-hander Andrew Heaney said. "I don't think it's a surprise to anybody. I think that's the potential that they bring to our lineup to change a game. I think everybody would love to see more of that."

The back-to-back homers offered a glimpse of the type of dynamic pairing the Angels' lineup could regularly feature in 2019, when Ohtani is expected to be limited to hitting as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. When Ohtani was pitching, the Angels' opportunities to deploy the 1-2 punch were restricted, as the 24-year-old phenom wasn't available to hit on the days before, after and during his starts.
Over his last 13 games, Ohtani is batting .383 with four doubles, five home runs, a triple and 12 RBIs, continuing his push for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Trout has been equally hot, hitting .370 with three doubles, four home runs, 10 RBIs and 15 walks over his last 17 games.
"I think it's going to be fun," Upton said. "Those guys are special. It'll be exciting to see."
Upton's bat will only further deepen the Angels' projected middle of the order next season. The 31-year-old slugger launched his 28th home run to extend the Angels' lead to 4-0 in the fourth before collecting his 29th in the ninth to secure his first multi-homer game of the season. He nearly added a third in the sixth, but Mitch Haniger robbed him by making a leaping grab at the right-field wall.
"I knew I had a chance," Upton said. "I don't know how close it was to going out, but he made a great play on it and just stole it away."

Heaney came away with a no-decision after surrendering two runs on eight hits while walking none and striking out four over five innings. Though he successfully navigated through a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, he made a couple mistakes in the fifth that resulted in home runs by Kristopher Negron and Haniger.
"Andrew was grinding tonight," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he was working against himself a little bit. It didn't feel like he was in sync. He had trouble repeating some pitches. He made some good pitches to get out of some jams, but all in all, I think he just wasn't as crisp tonight as you've seen."

Left-hander Jose Alvarez retired pinch-hitter Dee Gordon to open the eighth and then appeared to whiff Negron for the second out, but the ball got away from catcher Jose Briceno, allowing Negron to reach on a wild pitch.
After walking Denard Span, Alvarez was replaced by veteran Jim Johnson, who coaxed a groundout from Haniger before walking Jean Segura to load the bases with two outs. Scioscia brought in rookie left-hander Williams Jerez to face the left-handed-hitting Cano, but Cano lined a 1-1 slider over the head of Trout in center field to clear the bases and give the Mariners a 6-4 lead.
"It's good to challenge young guys," Scioscia said. "Williams was calm on the mound. He was trying to make pitches. Unfortunately, he left a little slider a little bit too far over the white of the plate, and Cano hit it hard."

Ryon Healy opened the second inning with a double off Heaney, but he was thrown out by Trout after attempting to tag up and take third on Mike Zunino's flyout to center field. Trout made the catch just in front of the warning track and fired a missile to third baseman Kaleb Cowart, who tagged Healy out after he came off the bag to complete the double play. It was the second outfield assist this week for Trout, who also nailed the Rangers' Robinson Chirinos at the plate on Wednesday.

The "Troutani" tandem was at work again in the sixth, as Trout led off the inning with a ground-rule double and then attempted to score from second on Ohtani's subsequent 109-mph single to right field. Trout was initially ruled safe, but the Mariners challenged the call after replay showed that Zunino appeared to tag the star center fielder before he touched home plate. The call was overturned, depriving the Angels of a key insurance run.

Rookie Jaime Barria (10-9, 3.53 ERA) will take the mound on Sunday afternoon as the Angels close out their four-game series against the Mariners at 1:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Seattle will counter with left-hander Marco Gonzales (12-9, 4.24 ERA). Barria is 1-3 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts against the Mariners this season.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.