Mike Trout/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
Mike Trout on Tuesday night was named Most Valuable Player of the All-Star game for the second consecutive season, becoming the first player to accomplish that.
Trout went 1-for-3 with a home run, a walk and two runs scored to help the American League to a 6-3 victory over the National League.
Trout became the first player in 38 years to lead off the All-Star game with a home run when he smacked one over the right-field fence off Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke.
Mike Trout/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
– The biggest thing about this victory is that it pulled the Angels within a half-game of first-place Houston in the AL West. The Angels (47-39) have won 10 of 12 heading into Saturday’s game at Seattle.
– Wow, what a game by Mike Trout. All the All-Star centerfielder did was hit his 25th and 26th home runs and drive in four. By going 3-for-5, Trout raised his average to .309. He is now tied for the league and team lead in home runs with teammate Albert Pujols. Trout’s 54 RBIs are second on the team to Pujols’ 56. Trout leads the team in on-base-percentage (.401), slugging (.618) and OPS (1.019).
– C.J. Cron continued his hot hitting since being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake City on June 29. In eight games he has hit four home runs and driven in 11 while hitting .448 (13-for-29). Cron went 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs in this one.
– Hector Santiago threw 106 pitches in seven innings and allowed eight hits. But he struck out seven and allowed just one run and is now 6-4 with an ERA of 2.33, third-lowest in the AL among starters.
– Vinnie Pestano had just been recalled from Salt Lake because closer Huston Street is working through a groin injury. Pestano pitched to just two batters in the ninth inning of what was not a save opportunity. He hit a batter and gave up a 430-foot, two-run home run to former Angel Mark Trumbo. Not the best way to return to the majors. Manager Mike Scioscia took no chances and immediately replaced Pestano with Fernando Salas, who retired the next three batters to end the game. Salas struck out two of the three.
Hector Santiago/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
– First and foremost, Hector Santiago had another fine outing. He pitched seven innings and for the most part matched “King” Felix Hernandez pitch-for-pitch. Santiago allowed just one run on three hits and struck out six while walking two. Hernandez allowed no runs and just one hit and struck out eight while walking three in six innings; he came out with cramps caused by the heat in the daytime game. Santiago’s ERA dropped to 2.58, lowest among Angels starting pitchers, fourth in the American League. He’s only 4-4, but Santiago is nevertheless making a case for being selected to the AL All-Star team.
– Rookie Trevor Gott, just 22, earned his first big-league victory with a perfect 10th inning. Gott has now pitched seven innings and has allowed just three hits and no runs; he has an ERA of 0.00 and has not walked a batter. He is regularly clocked at 98 miles-per-hour.
– It figured Albert Pujols would cool off, if for no other reason than he had been so hot for a long spell. Pujols went 0-for-5 in this one and has gone just 1-for-15 in his past four games with no home runs and no RBIs. Pujols’ most recent home run came June 22 in a 4-3 victory over Houston. He hit two that night. That was also the last time he drove in a run; he had three RBIs in that one.
– The Angels, who continue to struggle to score runs, hit into three double plays. The most notable came in the bottom of the 10th inning when Pujols hit the first pitch from Tom Wilhelmsen and grounded into a shortstop-to-home-to-first double play with the bases loaded. Fortunately for the Angels, Wilhelmsen then uncorked a wild pitch that scored Kole Calhoun with the winning run.
– Speaking of Calhoun, he has had two clutch at-bats the past two games. And since he’s been struggling at the plate, that’s huge for the Angels. He smacked a two-run home run in the first inning of Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Seattle. Then he had an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning in this one that gave the Angels a 2-1 lead. It could have been the winning run, but Huston Street gave up a game-tying home run in the top of the ninth. However, the Angels were glad to take the victory on Wilhelmsen’s wild pitch. Calhoun was hitting .314 on May 13. He’s now at .262 and is hitting just .232 this month.
Huston Street/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
– This was a big victory in as much as had the Angels lost, they would have fallen under the .500 mark and would have been 5 1/2 games behind front-running Houston in the AL West. With the win, the Angels are 33-32 and still 4 1/2 games out ahead of Wednesday’s games.
– This was the first game with the new batting order that saw Albert Pujols bat cleanup for the first time since 2010. Mike Trout, typically a No. 2 hitter, was moved to third with previous cleanup hitter Kole Calhoun batting second. The results were mixed. The Angels did not get a leadoff batter on the entire game. Calhoun went 0-for-4, Trout 1-for-3 with a single and walk and Pujols 1-for-3 with a 2-run home run.
– Left-fielder Matt Joyce was back in the lineup after being benched for two days. He’s still struggling. Joyce went 0-for-2 and was replaced by Daniel Robertson, who went 1-for-2. Joyce is now batting .181.
– Perhaps the best news from this game was the second consecutive solid outing by starting and winning pitcher Garrett Richards. He tossed seven innings and allowed just four hits and one unearned run while striking out four and walking three. After having his ERA rise to 4.14 after getting ripped in New York for six earned runs in two-thirds of an inning on June 6, Richards’ ERA is down to 3.59. He’s 7-4 and leads the staff in wins.
– Huston Street picked up his 20th save in 22 opportunities. Street blew saves May 6 against Seattle and May 7 against Houston. In the latter game, he gave up three earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. His ERA was 3.86 at that point, not good for a closer. He since has converted 11 save opportunities in succession and lowered his ERA to 2.33.