Don’t be fooled by the final score; this was a 6-3 game from the fourth inning until the ninth. The 3 was because the White Sox were able to string together a few mini-rallies against Matt Shoemaker. The 6—well that was because of Mike Trout.
When you hear the 27-year-old’s name uttered in the same breath as Mickey Mantle’s or Willie Mays’s, it’s not an exaggeration. Trout entered tonight’s game with an OPS of 1.064 and left it with an OPS of 1.088. He carried the Angels’ offense with the second five-hit night of his career, and gave Shoemaker enough cushion to work out of a couple jams.
Trout hit his first home run, a two-run shot, just to the right of center in the first. Then in the third, he came up again with two runners on. James Shields threw a wild pitch to advance both runners and open a base, then hung the fattest curveball humans may ever see. Trout bashed it well out to left field to score three more, and that made the score 6-1.
Shohei Ohtani, the other star of the Angels offense (and my gamethread appreciation) was no slouch either. He went 2-for-4 with a walk, including a three-run triple down the right field line against fellow lefty Jace Fry in the ninth.
Shields did give up the six runs, but give credit to the bullpen for holding the Halos scoreless until that six-run outburst in the ninth inning. After Aaron Bummer pitched to just Ohtani, Juan Minaya, Caleb Frare, and Ian Hamilton got the game moving along, even as the Sox offense struggled to put baserunners on in the late innings.
After the three-run top of the first, the Sox answered with back-to-back doubles by Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez to open the bottom half. Daniel Palka moved Sanchez to third with one out, and it looked like a response rally was getting started. But Welington Castillo grounded into a double play, short-circuiting the early comeback as quickly as it started. The Sox grounded into three double plays on the night (including another by Castillo), and scored just three runs despite going 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Not much else you can say, really. Sometimes Mike Trout just beats you.
- If you missed it, Royals pitcher Jorge Lopez took a perfect game into the ninth inning tonight. That was significantly more exciting than the late innings of Sox-Angels.
- Ohtani and Kevan Smith had a nasty collision at the plate in the ninth inning. Ohtani looked like his head got banged up, but he was able to walk off the field.