Trout homers in return to leadoff spot as Angels end skid

ByABC News
April 24, 2024, 12:49 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. --  Los Angeles Angels manager Ron Washington was hoping to get a spark by putting Mike Trout in the leadoff spot.

It worked. 

Hitting at the top of the order for the first time since 2020, the three-time American League MVP drove a fastball from Baltimore's Grayson Rodriguez off the auxiliary scoreboard above the wall in right-center field in the first inning to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead Tuesday night. They ended up winning 7-4 to end a five-game losing streak. 

It was the sixth leadoff homer of Trout's career and first since Sept. 28, 2012. Trout's ninth home run of the season tied for the major league lead.

"I'm just trying to shake things up and trying to see if I can get some different cohesiveness with my lineup," Washington said before the game.

Trout's solo home run was his lone hit Tuesday night. 

In his past eight games, he's now 4-for-31 with 10 strikeouts, including getting caught looking for the final out with the bases loaded in Monday night's 4-2 loss to the Orioles and then two more against Baltimore in Tuesday's win.

Trout has a .237 batting average, on pace to be his lowest average in March and April in his career. He hit over .300 through the end of April the past three seasons.

It was the 163rd time in Trout's 14-year, big league career that he topped the lineup, the first since the second game of a doubleheader against Houston on Aug. 25, 2020. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 11 years and 208 days is the second-longest span between consecutive leadoff homers in MLB history. The longest is 12 years, 286 days by Omar Vizquel.

Trout hit leadoff in 138 games during his first full season in the majors in 2012, when he was voted AL Rookie of the Year. But he had batted first in only five games since 2014 before Tuesday.

"He's done it before, so it's not foreign to him," Washington said. "If we can put him in there and get a run in the first inning, I'm all for that. I'm just looking to try different things and see what works."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.