The Angels and Athletics combined for 16 runs, 18 hits, 10 walks and four home runs in 2 hours 17 minutes of baseball Monday night, with Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman tying his career high with six RBIs.
And then the fifth inning started.
It was that kind of a game in Angel Stadium, a 3-hour, 41-minute slugfest in which the Angels outlasted the A’s 10-9 to end Oakland’s nine-game win streak.
The Angels rallied from a 9-4 fourth-inning deficit, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth — two of them on a Mike Trout homer — and two in the sixth on Shohei Ohtani’s two-run homer to tie the score 9-9.
Trout then provided the decisive blow in the eighth when he blasted his team-high seventh of the season, a solo shot off Yusmeiro Petit that left his bat at 109 mph and traveled 426 feet.
It was the 20th multi-homer game of Trout’s career, tying him with Tim Salmon and Vladimir Guerrero for the franchise record.
Four Angels relievers — Noe Ramirez, Keynan Middleton, Felix Pena and Ty Buttrey — combined to close out the game with five scoreless innings, with Buttrey striking out two of four batters in the ninth for the save.
“Well, it was 9-4, it was a pretty long game, and we looked up and it was only the fourth inning,” Trout said. “We had a lot of game left. We got on base. Ohtani hit a home run. [Anthony] Rendon hit one. I hit one. We kept fighting. Guys were having great at-bats. We kept chipping away and finally pulled ahead in the eighth.”
Chapman, the former El Toro High and Cal State Fullerton standout, lined a solo homer to left-center field in the second, a two-run blast that traveled 431 feet to center in the third and a three-run triple to the gap in right-center in the fourth, matching the six-RBI game he had in Anaheim on June 30, 2019.
The Angels countered Chapman’s brute strength with Rendon’s two-run homer to left in the first, a hit that snapped an 0-for-21 skid for the third baseman, and Trout’s two-run shot to left, a 108-mph drive that traveled 428 feet in the fourth. Trout also singled and scored in each of his first two at-bats.
“Offensively, I think he pretty much plays the same game regardless, but it definitely has to take a little bit of a load off,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of the homer by Rendon, who is batting just .143. “It's something that can lead to a very good hot streak for him.”
The Angels, with reliever Noe Ramirez on the mound, finally got Chapman out in the sixth … on a blistering 101-mph line drive that shortstop David Fletcher snagged to start a double play. And the A’s finally retired Trout when reliever Lou Trivino struck out the Angels star to open the bottom of the sixth.
But the Angels tied the score 9-9 off Trivino in the sixth when Rendon blooped a one-out single to center and Ohtani, who doubled to right-center in the three-run fourth, drove his fourth homer of the season, a two-run shot to right-center that left his bat at 110 mph and traveled 417 feet.
That set the stage for Trout to cap a dramatic comeback win when he crushed a 1-and-2 curve from Petit well over the wall in left field.
“It’s always a battle with Petit, and it seems like I’m always facing him in big situations,” Trout said. “He has great stuff. You don’t know what he’s gonna throw. I just reacted on the curveball, saw it pop up. He hasn’t thrown me one of those in a while. I was looking for a pitch to drive and got a barrel on it.”
The Angels dugout erupted with the crack of Trout’s bat, the home run helping to end a three-game losing streak and, the Angels hope, build some positive momentum after a rough start to the season.
“I'm here to tell you, man, that we can play with these guys,” Maddon said. “Absolutely, we can play with these guys. There's no doubt in my mind. We got to go out there and take it from them. They're not going to give us anything. I like the way we responded today.
“I have a lot of respect for Oakland, but we can play with these guys, and we can play with Houston, but we’ve got to prove that. We have to go out and demonstrate it on the field.”
That the Angels scored seven of their first 10 runs on homers and drew six walks through six innings was hardly a surprise. Entering Monday, the Angels ranked fifth in the major leagues with 24 homers and second with 70 walks, but they were in last place in the American League West with a 5-11 record.
It’s almost as if the Angels, who were counting on a highly productive offense to offset some of their pitching deficiencies, are getting too much of a good thing.
Of the 82 runs they’ve scored this season, 52 of them, or 63.4%, have come on home runs. Only the New York Yankees, who scored 50 of their first 79 runs via the home run, had a higher percentage (63.3%) going into Monday’s games. Next on the list is the Cincinnati Reds (55.2%).
“Well, that’s just what the game has evolved into — everybody trying to hit home runs,” Maddon said before the game. “Singles aren’t cool. Singles are like pennies. They’ve become obsolete almost.
“It’s a mind set that we have to get the guys back into. I want it all. I want power. I want the ability to hit the base hit the other way with two strikes to score the run. I want the situational [hitting] mind set. I want everything offensively, and that’s what we’re going to strive to be.”