GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout's three at-bats against Chris Sale during the Angels' 6-5 victory over the White Sox on Thursday at Camelback Ranch probably won't be front page news.But this All-Star vs. All-Star matchup, featuring two of the best players in the game, had a decided regular-season feel during
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout's three at-bats against Chris Sale during the Angels' 6-5 victory over the White Sox on Thursday at Camelback Ranch probably won't be front page news.
But this All-Star vs. All-Star matchup, featuring two of the best players in the game, had a decided regular-season feel during the final week of Spring Training.
Sale got the better of Trout in his first two-bats, with a first-inning lineout to first baseman Jose Abreu and a swinging strikeout to open the fourth in an eight pitch at-bat. But Trout exacted his Cactus League revenge in the sixth by launching an 0-1 pitch into the left-field stands for a three-run, go-ahead home run.
"My first at-bat was all heaters. And then my second at-bat was a fastball, and he mixed a curveball in," Trout said. "Threw a couple fastballs 3-2, then he threw a changeup, good changeup.
"Then my last at-bat he threw me, I think, back-to-back changeups. He's got nasty stuff. It's a battle every time facing him. I just got a pitch I could hit and didn't miss it. We have fun. He's a great dude. We just like to compete. He's trying to get me out, and I'm trying to get a hit."
The Angels managed just four hits off Sale in the first five innings, with the southpaw needing 64 pitches to complete that work. But they knocked out four hits in five hitters to start the sixth, including homers from Trout and C.J. Cron.
Those Spring Training statistics don't matter much to Sale. His focus was getting up and down six times and throwing 88 pitches during the game and 17 in the bullpen after exiting.
With one Cactus League start remaining, Sale is ready for Oakland and real regular-season action.
"My body feels good. My arm feels great. That's half the battle down here," said Sale, who also hung an 0-for-3 on Albert Pujols with one strikeout. "Sometimes you get out there and you've only got three innings, you don't feel like it was a real start. Today felt as natural as it possibly could be, which was nice.
"When you're in season, you're in game mode, you're in attack mode, you're in winning mode. There's a little bit different feel out here, but at the end of the day, winning games is still important. Kind of catapults you, you get the ball rolling and you get used to winning at something. The more you win, the better off you'll be."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.