ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout homered on his 24th birthday and the Angels came from behind with a couple of two-out hits in the sixth inning on Friday night, beating the Orioles, 8-4, in Southern California. The Angels (58-50) are now 1 1/2 games back of the Astros in the American League West, while the Orioles (55-53) are 2 1/2 back of the Blue Jays for the second Wild Card spot.
"They're a good team, having a good year, and we have to operate at a little bit higher level if we're gonna stay with them," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the Angels.
Angels starter Andrew Heaney -- 5-1 with a 1.97 ERA heading in -- struggled for the first time this year, giving up a two-run homer to Jonathan Schoop in the fourth, a solo shot to Matt Wieters in the sixth and eight other hits over 5 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old left with two on and his team trailing by one in the sixth, but Fernando Salas struck out Nolan Reimold to end the inning, and the Angels came back in the bottom half.
With two on and two outs, Chris Iannetta drove a Kevin Gausman offering deep into the left-center-field gap for a two-run double. David DeJesus followed with a line-drive RBI single to right off reliever Chaz Roe, his second hit in 22 at-bats since joining the Angels. Two innings later, the Angels pulled away on C.J. Cron's towering, pinch-hit two-run homer that was projected by Statcast™ to land 456 feet away.
"I think the biggest thing to take out of the game was the two-out hits," Trout said. "Leaving guys on base is what's hurt us in the past, and the two-out hits tonight were huge."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Birthday bash: Trout turned on a 97-mph fastball from Gausman in the first inning and lined it over the fence in left-center field, giving him a home run on his birthday for the third time in four years. Trout -- with a Major League-leading 33 homers -- also walked twice and lined a single against the shift.
"It seems like he's had a lot of birthdays -- he hits a lot of home runs," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's OK. He just keeps playing baseball, and that's what's so good about Mike." More >
Sixth-inning struggles: Taking a 4-3 lead into the sixth, Gausman got two outs after a leadoff single but couldn't get out of the inning. The Orioles gave up four straight hits, including a go-ahead two-run double by Iannetta on a 99-mph fastball on a 1-2 count that knocked Gausman out of the game.
"The worst pitch I threw all day was the last one," Gausman said. "And that's definitely what's frustrating. I get out of that right there and it's a pretty solid outing." More >
Not so fast: Trout and Kole Calhoun came up with big throws to keep Orioles baserunners out of scoring position in the third inning. Calhoun charged in on Gerardo Parra's grounder to right field and fired a bullet to nail Reimold at third base. The next batter, Adam Jones, brought in a run with a fly ball off the center-field fence, but Trout fired a perfect one-hop throw to second baseman Johnny Giavotella to retire Jones and end the inning.
"If we don't get those outs, you never know what can happen," Calhoun said. "It definitely helped us getting out of that inning with only one run." More >
Rare bullpen troubles plague O's: Even though Baltimore's relievers have been excellent all season -- the O's entered the game with a 2.79 cumulative ERA, fourth-best in the Majors -- they couldn't keep Friday's game close. Roe gave up DeJesus' RBI single in the sixth, and Brad Brach gave up Cron's moonshot in the seventh.
"We didn't pitch very well out of the bullpen," Showalter said. "We get some outs there, there's a game there to be won. That's what's frustrating."
"It gave me the chills. To have fans sing you a happy birthday, it means a lot." -- Trout, on getting serenaded by the fans in center field right before the first pitch
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez gets the ball for the Orioles in the second game of the series on Saturday at 9:05 p.m. ET. Jimenez will look to rebound from his last start, when he gave up six runs in just 4 2/3 innings vs. the Tigers.
Angels: Garrett Richards will start opposite Jimenez for the Angels. In his last start, the right-hander ended a six-game losing streak against the Indians and reigning AL Cy Young award-winner Corey Kluber, striking out a career high-tying 11 in the process. He'll try to get the Angels a third straight win on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. PT.