Veteran's blast sparks offense as Trout out for 4th straight
By Alex Espinoza
Special to MLB.com |
OAKLAND -- Albert Pujols blasted home run No. 596 of his career in the first inning of Tuesday's 7-3 win over the A's. Batting third as the Angels designated hitter, Pujols sent a 1-2 changeup from Oakland right-hander Jharel Cotton into the left-field bleachers to give his club a 1-0 lead.
Pujols set the tone for Los Angeles, which hit a trio of homers in the first two frames. It marked the 17th homer of Pujols' career against the A's, his fourth-highest total against an American League team.
"You can't just go up there and hit the ball out of the park," Pujols said. "You do that because you just put a good swing on the ball, and it's going to carry sometimes. Most important thing is to have good quality at-bats and make the guy work. That's what we did tonight."
Pujols is vying to become just the ninth player in MLB history to reach the 600-homer plateau. Up next on the all-time leaderboard are Sammy Sosa (609), Jim Thome (612) and Ken Griffey Jr. (630).
His home run was a welcome sight for the Angels, who were without Mike Trout for the fourth straight contest. Trout spent the night on the bench after Angels manager Mike Scioscia had left the door open to using him as a pinch-hitter.
While starter Alex Meyer promptly gave the lead back to the A's in the bottom of the first when Yonder Alonso blasted a two-run shot, part of his two-homer evening, the Angels tattooed Cotton in the second inning.
Ben Revere started it off with a two-out solo shot to right field. It marked just seventh homer of his career and first since July 20, 2016. Entering the game, he had MLB's highest career at-bat/home run ratio at 485.
"I didn't see it leave the field," Revere said. "I just kept running and then I saw [A's right fielder Matt] Joyce just kind of turn his back, and I'm like, 'Oh, that went over.' I thought it was going to hit the fence. I'm a wimp."
Cliff Pennington and Martin Maldonado followed with back-to-back singles before Yunel Escobar broke the game open with a three-run blast. Escobar added another RBI groundout in the fourth as the Angels tacked on a couple of insurance runs.
"We put some good at-bats [together] and executed the plan that we went through in our hitter's meeting," Pujols said "We came out with a win."
Alex Espinoza is a contributor for MLB.com based in the Bay Area, and covered the Angels on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.