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Gray fades fast against Trout, Angels

Yanks drop early lead after HRs from Gardner, Judge, Romine
MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- Sonny Gray's latest turn on the big stage in the Bronx ended with jeers accompanying the hurler's slow walk to the home dugout, thanks in large part to a big performance from Mike Trout, who homered amid a career-high five-hit performance in the Angels' 11-4 victory over the Yankees on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium.

Trout slugged a run-scoring double in the first inning, doubled as part of a two-run third inning and reached the left-field seats with his 17th long ball in the fourth, a two-run shot that tied Mookie Betts of the Red Sox for the Major League lead. Gray departed one batter later, having coughed up the three-run advantage built by a trio of Bombers blasts off Jaime Barria.

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NEW YORK -- Sonny Gray's latest turn on the big stage in the Bronx ended with jeers accompanying the hurler's slow walk to the home dugout, thanks in large part to a big performance from Mike Trout, who homered amid a career-high five-hit performance in the Angels' 11-4 victory over the Yankees on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium.

Trout slugged a run-scoring double in the first inning, doubled as part of a two-run third inning and reached the left-field seats with his 17th long ball in the fourth, a two-run shot that tied Mookie Betts of the Red Sox for the Major League lead. Gray departed one batter later, having coughed up the three-run advantage built by a trio of Bombers blasts off Jaime Barria.

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"He's an unbelievable player and I think he showed that tonight," Gray said of Trout. "He put some good swings on the ball and in the fourth, he hit that homer. That was ultimately the icing on the cake for me."

Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the first inning against Barria, who also served up a two-run shot to Austin Romine that clanged off the right-field foul pole.

Video: LAA@NYY: Gardner, Judge hit back-to-back jacks in 1st

But the Angels rallied against Gray, who issued a bases-loaded walk to Shohei Ohtani and gave up a sacrifice fly while being knocked around for five runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

"I was just getting pitches where I like it, and I wasn't missing them," Trout said. "It's always a battle with Sonny Gray, being with Oakland for a few years and seeing him a lot. It's a battle every time when we face each other. It's a fun competition."

Video: LAA@NYY: Trout goes 5-for-5 with career-high 4 XBHs

It was a disappointing turn of events for the Yankees, who had been encouraged by Gray's most recent outing, a strong eight-inning effort against the Royals in Kansas City. Gray has yet to win consecutive starts since being acquired by the Yankees, and he has surrendered homers in each of his last five home starts, compared with none on the road this year.

"I believe the stuff's there," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "It's about finding that consistency, commanding his fastball. I thought it was really just moving so much on him. The stuff's there. Hopefully he can start to string some together. I feel like it's real close, like we saw in his last start where he was excellent. I thought, stuff-wise, he backed that up again today."

Video: LAA@NYY: Boone discusses Gray's outing in 11-4 loss

Suffice it to say that Gray has not been the game-changer that the Yankees believed they were obtaining from the Athletics in a four-player trade last July, which could send the club back to the trade market this summer. Even prior to Saturday's game, general manager Brian Cashman opined that his club "needs pitching, more than anything else," a stance that will certainly not be altered by the latest outcome.

"[It's disappointing], especially when you give up a run in the first, we come back with two," Gray said. "Then we come back with two the next inning. You're sitting 4-1 and feeling pretty good where you're at. I don't think I got a leadoff hitter out all night. That can make for a long game for a starter."

Video: LAA@NYY: Romine smacks a 2-run shot off the foul pole

Having already homered for a third consecutive game, Trout continued his banner performance as he doubled home a run off Tommy Kahnle in a four-run sixth inning, a frame that was set up as second baseman Gleyber Torres dropped a routine throw. Albert Pujols broke the game open with a two-run single.

Barria settled down to hold the Yanks to four runs and six hits over five innings. Jose Briceno padded the Angels' lead in the seventh inning with his first big league homer, a two-run shot off Chasen Shreve. Two batters later, Trout reached on an infield single for his fifth hit of the evening, credited with a career-high 11 total bases.

Video: LAA@NYY: Briceno gets first hit, HR, CS in MLB debut

"If we can get our pitchers to consistently get us to that sixth inning or whatever and beyond, then our bullpen obviously sets up and we feel like our offense can take it from there," Boone said. "I believe they'll turn around and get rolling again."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With a runner at third base and two outs in the fourth inning, Boone elected to have Gray pitch to Trout, who had already doubled twice. Gray missed with the first two pitches, a slider and fastball, then zipped a heater by Trout for a called strike. The fourth pitch of the at-bat, a slider, was slugged 419 feet by the Angels superstar.

"I think you're definitely going to try to pitch that guy carefully right there," Gray said. "I think we had every intention of throwing a slider down and away. He reached out and hit a bomb. I knew the situation. I threw a slider down there in a 2-1 count and he got it."

Video: LAA@NYY: Trout slugs a 2-run homer, his 17th of 2018

Boone said he considered intentionally walking Trout but felt it was the wrong move at the time, with the Yankees clinging to a 4-3 lead.

"I just felt like at that point in the fourth inning, [we're] starting to turn the lineup over again, and if we walk him, he's probably on second," Boone said. "So we're basically at that point putting the go-ahead run on second. If we had gone to 3-0 or something, we would've put him on. Otherwise, no."

SOUND SMART
Judge's home run was his 70th in his 231st career game, making him the quickest player to reach that mark. The previous mark was held by Ryan Howard, who hit his 70th home run in his 233rd career game on Aug. 26, 2006, a grand slam for the Phillies off the Mets' Oliver Perez. Judge is hitting .347 (33-for-95) with 25 runs, six doubles, 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 27 games at Yankee Stadium this season.

Video: LAA@NYY: Judge belts 442-foot HR over Yanks' bullpen

UP NEXT
There should be international appeal as the Yankees conclude their three-game series against the Angels on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 ET, with the possibility of Masahiro Tanaka (5-2, 4.95 ERA) facing Ohtani from a distance of 60 feet and six inches. Ohtani has served as the Angels' DH in the first two games of the series. Right-hander Garrett Richards (4-3, 3.31 ERA) will start for the Angels, as Ohtani's start was pushed back due to what manager Mike Scioscia called "workload management."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner, Sonny Gray, Aaron Judge, Austin Romine