Pujols, Trout lead Angels' home run barrage vs. Rox
By Alden Gonzalez and Dargan Southard
DENVER -- The Angels knocked around Chad Bettis early with four home runs in the first three frames, propelling Los Angeles to its third straight double-digit showing and a 10-2 win over the Rockies in Tuesday's series opener at Coors Field.
Albert Pujols set the tone in the first with a three-run shot for his 54th career Interleague homer -- the most in Major League history. Mike Trout and Matt Joyce followed suit by going deep in the second, and former Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta knocked Bettis (4-4) out with a two-run homer in third, which gave the Angels a 10-0 advantage.
"I don't know if you expect your offense to max out every time like we have these last four games, but early runs are important," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose team has scored 43 runs amid a four-game winning streak. "We've been doing it, and you can see how it affects every aspect of our game -- from our pitchers being able to bring all their stuff into a game and not worrying about one mistake costing them. It's great to see."
The early output was more than enough support for Angels starter Andrew Heaney (2-0), who yielded eight hits and two runs over 7 1/3 frames. Bettis, meanwhile, lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up eight hits and a career-high 10 runs on just 56 pitches.
"It makes it tough, but you've still got to grind away at-bats," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of playing from behind. "Thought Heaney did a nice job for them, but it makes it tougher when you're playing from behind in all aspects of the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Crooked numbers: For all intents and purposes, the game had already been decided, but the Angels made certain of it in the top of the third, when Iannetta ripped a two-run homer to straightaway center field -- to pretty much the same place Joyce hit one an inning earlier. It was the Angels' 11th multi-run inning of this road trip, which they're only four games into. They've outscored their opponents -- the Rangers and Rockies -- 43-10 in that stretch.
"Any time you score a bunch of runs it's a lot more fun," Joyce said. "You aren't going to score 10 runs every game, but for us, I think we've done a great job of sticking with our approach and getting pitches to hit and squaring them up."
Picking up the extension:Troy Tulowitzki extended his hitting streak to 19 games and his on-base streak to 34 games with an RBI single in the sixth. During his current hitting streak, Tulowitzki is batting .365 (27-for-74) with 12 runs scored and 12 RBIs.
Still solid: Heaney let three straight batters reach with one out in the sixth, but he got out of the inning with only one run across and turned in another solid, efficient outing. In three starts with the Angels, the 24-year-old Heaney has given up just four runs in 20 1/3 innings, scattering 14 hits, walking three batters and striking out 17. The Angels could have some tough -- yet ideal -- decisions to make with their rotation once Jered Weaver returns from the disabled list.
"I do my thing, I go out there and pitch, and whatever happens, happens," Heaney said. "I'd like to think I've given myself an opportunity, but there's five other pitchers that made the team for a reason and there's a reason I didn't."
Long-ball blues: The home run is always a concern for pitchers at Coors Field, but it hadn't been much of an issue for Bettis until Tuesday night. Entering the series opener, he had served up just four long balls in 61 1/3 innings this season -- and only one of those homers came at Coors Field. But the Angels needed just 17 batters to double Bettis' season total, and none of Los Angeles' four homers were cheapies. All of them were projected by Statcast™ to land at least 415 feet away.
"Those four pitches I missed up in the zone that were home runs -- they're a hot team right now, and you've got to be able to locate pretty well," Bettis said.
"That's baseball. Its that ebb and flow. It keeps coming back and forth. You try to prolong the flow and shorten the ebb. We had an ebb for a long time." -- Iannetta
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The Angels, coming off a 12-6, sweep-clinching series finale against the Rangers on Sunday, have now scored 10 or more earned runs against a starting pitcher in back-to-back road games. That hasn't been done since 1939, by the Yankees. They're also the first team to plate double-digit runs in three straight games this season.
WHAT'S NEXT Angels: Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (4-7, 4.91 ERA) takes the ball for the finale of a two-game series at Coors Field on Wednesday, with first pitch slated for 6:40 p.m. MT. Shoemaker has improved in his last two starts, limiting the Mariners and Yankees to four runs in 11 2/3 innings. This will be his first appearance in Denver.
Rockies: Left-hander Chris Rusin will take the hill in Wednesday's series finale, looking to give Colorado just its second Interleague win this season in 11 tries. In three career Interleague games (two starts), Rusin is 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA. Most of that damage came this season, when Rusin gave up seven runs over four innings in a June 16 loss at Houston.