ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout did it all on Monday night, turning in a couple of run-saving, highlight-reel catches and clubbing another home run while leading the Angels to a 4-1 win over the Yankees in Southern California.
Trout twice robbed Chris Young of RBI opportunities, helping Angels starter C.J. Wilson pitch six innings of one-run ball. In between, he drove in the winning run with his 20th homer. And in the end, he picked up his first stolen base since May 22.
"He showed his tools tonight, no doubt," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Trout, who helped his team win for the fourth time in five games and stay four back of the Astros in the American League West.
The Yankees (41-36) lost for the third time in five games to move a half-game behind the Rays and Orioles in the AL East.
"[Trout] was really the difference in the game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's responsible for about four or five runs in this game, taking three away from us, maybe four, and providing one himself. He was the real difference in the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED All about Trout: The Angels' superstar center fielder gave the Angels the lead with his 20th home run, in the bottom of the third, and came up big with the glove. With a runner on second and one out in the third, and with a runner on second and one out in the fifth, Trout sprinted near the center-field warning track and snared a couple of Young's liners with leaping, twisting catches.
"It was obviously a good one," Trout said of his performance. "I take pride in my game defensively, offensively." More >
Homer-happy Halos:CC Sabathia provided distance, but he was again hurt by the long ball, serving up his 18th and 19th blasts of the year to claim the Major League lead from the Tigers' Anibal Sanchez. Sabathia did manage to hold Trout and Albert Pujols to one hit apiece; unfortunately for the big lefty, they were both damaging extra-base blows. Sabathia hasn't won since June 7 vs. the Angels in New York, a span of four starts.
"I think it's just something that happens from time to time," Sabathia said. "If I can keep them to solo [homers], I'm fine with that. It's just something I've got to be better at." More >
Long gone:C.J. Cron hit a majestic solo shot to left field off Sabathia in the seventh, just the second home run in 117 plate appearances for the right-handed power hitter. Cron entered the season with hopes of getting everyday at-bats at designated hitter, but struggled early, started to platoon only against lefties, was optioned to Triple-A twice and sported a .204/.237/.269 slash line in his first 35 games. The Angels called him up on Monday in hopes that his Minor League numbers would finally translate.
"I just need to put a good swing on the ball, really," Cron said. "I'm a big guy, so that stuff kind of just happens." More >
Can't do it all himself: Reigning AL Player of the Week Brett Gardner (3-for-5, two doubles) tried to set the tone at the top of the Yankees' lineup, but the order couldn't follow his lead. The Yankees were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. Trout's defense had a lot to do with that, but Carlos Beltran struck out looking to leave the bases loaded in the third and Jose Pirela and Chase Headley also hit into inning-ending double plays.
"We got a few guys on base, but we hit some balls hard and Trout made some good plays out in center field, then one or two big double plays," Gardner said. "Offensively, we weren't able to come up with a big hit with guys in scoring position." More >
"I think they should change the rules. Somebody hits the ball hard, you should get like a half a point or something. Just be rewarded for it in some kind of way. This game doesn't reward you for stuff like that, though." -- Young, on Trout's catches
"Real shocker, right? Trout hits a home run, saves a couple runs with his defense, whatever." -- Wilson, jokingly, on Trout's performance
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Trout is the sixth American League player with four 20-plus-homer campaigns before his age-24 season. The others are Alex Rodriguez (1996-99), Ken Griffey Jr. (1990-93), Tony Conigliaro (1964-67), Mickey Mantle (1952-55) and Ted Williams (1939-42).
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Angels escaped a potential first-inning jam thanks to replay, when a safe call on Gardner at third base was overturned. The Yankees' leadoff hitter slid headfirst into the bag after a wild pitch, but replay showed that David Freese's tag got him on the arm before he reached the bag. The Angels moved to 12-for-22 in challenges this year.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Right-hander Ivan Nova (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second start of the season on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. PT, as the Yankees and Angels play the second game of this series. Nova had a successful return from Tommy John surgery on June 24 vs. Philadelphia, hurling 6 2/3 scoreless innings around three hits with two walks and a strikeout. He is 4-2 with a 5.45 ERA in six career starts vs. the Angels.
Angels: Left-hander Andrew Heaney (0-0, 1.50) opposes Nova in hopes of building on a strong Angels debut. Heaney, ranked as the top prospect in the Angels' system by MLB.com, pitching six innings of one-run ball while filling the rotation spot of Jered Weaver (left hip inflammation). The Angels acquired Heaney from the Dodgers for Howie Kendrick in December and will find a way to keep him in the rotation if he keeps pitching well.