CLEVELAND -- Asked if he tried to go deep in Sunday's eighth inning, while needing only a home run for his second career cycle, Mike Trout smiled wide and snickered, offering some rare levity in an otherwise solemn Angels clubhouse.
"When I do that, I get my foot down late and I get jammed," Trout said after a 9-2, sweep-clinching loss to the Indians. "That's what happened."
Instead of a home run, Trout muscled an RBI single into shallow right field. He didn't get the cycle, but he did go 4-for-4, an encouraging performance in the tail end of an uncharacteristically bad month.
Trout entered Sunday with a .627 OPS in August, easily his lowest in a month since his first full season in 2012. Then he hit a triple high off Progressive Field's tall fence in center field, then lined a single up the middle, then laced a double down the left-field line and capped his afternoon with another hit.
It's all about getting his foot down early, the one thing he didn't do in his final plate appearance.
"I've been feeling good at the plate the last couple days," said Trout, now batting .298/.397/.581 with 33 home runs and 74 RBIs. "Obviously the results aren't there, but that's baseball. You have to stay positive. Once you start thinking negative and trying to change a bunch of things, that's when you get in trouble."
Trout also gets in trouble when he tries to hit home runs.
"Once," Trout said when asked if he's ever homered when trying to, "and it was when I hit for the cycle last time [on May 21, 2013]. If I try to kill the ball, I get my mechanics all messed up. It comes along with the last few weeks of trying to do too much. Lately, I've been recognizing pitches. My first couple at-bats, I felt comfortable up there."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.