video thumbnail

SEA@LAA: Trumbo's homer shatters a scoreless tie

ANAHEIM -- Prior to Sunday's game against the Mariners, Angels manager Mike Scioscia was asked if he'd consider moving rookie Mark Trumbo up from his customary spot at sixth or seventh the order as a means to jumpstart his club's stagnant offense.

In his response Scioscia opined that his power hitting first baseman wasn't there in his development to handle the responsibilities that come with hitting in the heart of the order for a team in the middle of a pennant race.

One swing isn't likely enough to change Scioscia's mind, but Trumbo certainly looked like a cleanup hitter in the third inning of the Angels' 2-1 victory over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.

With the win, the Angels remained one game behind the Rangers in the American League West after Texas rallied to top the Indians, 5-3, on Sunday night.

Trumbo hammered a 1-2 fastball from Seattle ace Felix Hernandez way over the left-center field fence to give the Halos both a 1-0 lead and their first hit of the game.

The ball landed near the flag pole holding the Angels' 2002 World Series Champion flag and traveled an estimated 471 feet -- the longest home run hit at Angel Stadium this year.

"He can hit it as far as anybody I've seen," Scioscia said. "That ball was properly struck, there's no doubt about it."

Hernandez began the at-bat with Trumbo by throwing three straight off-speed pitches, at which point Trumbo said he expected Hernandez to go fastball. That assumption allowed Trumbo to turn one of the league's best pitchers into a launching pad.

"Just trying to get a pitch I could handle," said Trumbo of his 22nd home run of the season, which tied Wally Joyner for fifth all-time among Halos' rookies. "His ball moves as much as anybody I've ever seen."

Said Hernandez: "I knew it was gone. I just looked up to see how far it was going to go. And it was pretty far."

Hernandez soon reverted back to his dominant self, retiring the next 12 batters until Howard Kendrick's infield single at the start of the seventh inning broke Hernandez's streak and sparked new life in the Angels offense. Torii Hunter followed with a single of his own to put runners on the corners, and Vernon Wells later drove Kendrick in with an RBI single to double LA's lead.

For much of the day, though, Trumbo's solo shot looked like all the offense the Angels would need as starter Ervin Santana continued his midseason renaissance.

Santana blanked the M's until Mike Carp's solo home run with one out in the top of the ninth ended his bid at a third straight complete game and to become the first pitcher since Ken Forsch in 1979 to follow a no-hitter with two complete games.

Santana was pulled after the homer and tipped his cap to the crowd after receiving a standing ovation. Jordan Walden recorded the final two outs for his 25th save of the year.

"That was a bad pitch," Santana said. "That was not the right pitch for that at-bat. And the location was right down the middle."

While Santana may harp on his one mistake on Sunday, there's no doubting he's been pitching at an elite level since his no-hitter on July 27 at Cleveland.

In his last three starts Santana has given up just two earned runs in 26 1/3 innings, and just three in 34 innings across his last four.

"He's controlling counts," Scioscia said. "He's continuing to grow and get much more consistent. He's on a great run. His fastball command is key, and that's really coming along. He's got one of the best fastball-breaking ball combinations in baseball, and when he's commanding counts he's tough."

Santana struck out seven and scattered seven hits in picking up his fifth straight win, lowering his ERA to a season-best 3.21 in the process.

While Santana maintained that his no-hitter did not inject additional confidence in his game and that he feels the same he has all year, the Mariners disagreed.

"He was much different this time than when we saw him in Seattle," M's shortstop Jack Wilson said. "His slider was much sharper than we'd seen in the past. It was tough to pick up today."

Santana ran into trouble in the top of the third after back-to-back singles by Kyle Seager and Ichiro Suzuki put runners on the corners with one out. But Santana pounced on Wilson's ensuing attempt to bunt Seager home, nabbing the M's rookie at the plate.

Erick Aybar then ended the jam, racing all the way from his position at short to catch Dustin Ackley's pop-up in foul territory.

"Today I had the command for every single pitch," Santana said. "Everything was working."

MLB.com Comments