ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout swung at a sinking, tailing Felix Hernandez changeup and fouled it off his back foot so hard that his right leg buckled every time he tried to walk it off in the fourth inning on Saturday night.
"It was bothering me the rest of the game," Trout said. "It was definitely on my mind."
And while that was on his mind, Trout hustled to second base for a double, recorded an outfield assist and came up with the game-winning home run in the Angels' 4-2 win over the division-rival Mariners.
Trout's double, a well-struck line drive into the right-center-field gap, came a mere two pitches after taking the hard foul ball to the back of his right foot. His home run, into the lawn in straightaway center, traveled a projected distance of 435 feet away from home, according to Statcast™.
It was Trout's fifth home run against Hernandez, the ace right-hander he is now batting .368 against for his career.
"I always do a lot of things to pitch to him differently," Hernandez said. "I try to go fastballs, try to go breaking balls. He's a good hitter and has a good approach against me. That's why he's got those numbers."
Trout's approach against Hernandez is the same as it is against virtually every pitcher -- sit fastball, adjust off-speed, stay to the middle of the field.
His home run came on an 89 mph, 1-0 sinker that was left up too high. It came with the Angels trailing, 2-1, and their flailing offense mustering only seven runs in its previous 43 innings. Trout has now reached base in 11 of his last 16 plate appearances, his slash line up to .302/.408/.508 after a rare slow start.
"He actually surprised me early in the year with his struggles, man," winning pitcher Hector Santiago said. "He surprised you with the hits that he got. Balls weren't blistering off [his bat], but he got the job done. And right now he's turned it back around and he's the old Trouty again."
The old Trout -- a younger Trout, actually -- couldn't make that seventh-inning throw.
Trout played Adam Lind's line drive perfectly off the center-field fence and fired a short-hop in to second base to record his second outfield assist this season, with a throw that Statcast™ clocked at 88 mph.
Arm strength used to be considered the only tool Trout lacked. But as he's gotten older, and maintained his long-toss routine with right fielder Kole Calhoun, Trout's throwing arm has actually become a weapon. He thinks it's gotten "a lot better" since his first full season in 2012 and he's even seen improvements from last year, when he recorded a career-high seven assists.
"For sure," Trout said.
As for that foot?
"We'll see how it feels tomorrow," Trout said. "It should be good to go, but it's sore."