ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout's return to the lineup wasn't enough to spark the Angels on Thursday night, as Justin Upton and Andrew Romine homered to back a dominant start from Michael Fulmer, lifting the Tigers to a 7-1 series-opening victory at Angel Stadium.
The Tigers entered Thursday with a 3-17 mark at the Big A since 2011, but it didn't take them long to find success against Angels right-hander JC Ramirez, who surrendered a three-run homer to Upton in the first and a two-run shot to Romine in the second to put the Halos in a 5-0 hole.
Less than a week after making his best start of the season, Fulmer again turned in a dominant performance, holding the Angels to one run on three hits, allowing only an RBI double to Yunel Escobar that cut Detroit's lead to 5-1 in the fifth. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out seven batters over seven innings, tossing a career-high 114 pitches.
"He had very good stuff again tonight," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Went deep into the game, kept them off balance, they didn't square up a lot of balls. He kind of set the tone for us."
Ian Kinsler, who returned to action after missing five games with left hamstring tightness, went 3-for-4 with a walk, while James McCann and Miguel Cabrera also drove in one run apiece for the Tigers.
Trout, meanwhile, went 0-for-4 as the designated hitter after sitting out the Angels' previous five games with a hamstring issue, snapping his career-high 17-game hitting streak.
"It felt good," said Trout, who ran hard down the line while trying to beat out a grounder to shortstop Jose Iglesias in his first at-bat of the evening. "That's how baseball is. First at-bat tested it, and it felt fine."
Escobar, who accounted for three of the Angels' four hits, produced his 13th multi-hit game of the season and is now batting .367 (18-for-49) over his last 11 games.
"Yunel's been swinging the bat much better the last 10 games or so, so it's good to see him back where he needs to be," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've got probably a handful of guys in our lineup who are right now struggling for a little rhythm. They're not seeing the ball as well as they can. We've got some guys that are just finding themselves, and they need to exhale and kind of take a step back. That's what we're working toward. Hopefully we'll get there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Upton's first-inning bomb: Ramirez stumbled into an early jam after the Tigers opened the game with back-to-back singles from Kinsler and Nicholas Castellanos. Ramirez came close to avoiding damage, as he struck out Cabrera and induced a flyout from Victor Martinez for the first two outs of the inning, but he then hung a first-pitch slider to Upton, who crushed a three-run home run to deep center field, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Upton's seventh homer of the season had an exit velocity of 103 mph and traveled a projected 414 feet, according to Statcast™. Angels pitchers have now allowed 54 home runs this year, the most in the Majors.
Angels can't capitalize in the third: The Halos had a chance to chip away at their five-run deficit in the third after Cliff Pennington and Escobar strung together consecutive two-out singles off Fulmer. That brought up Kole Calhoun and placed Trout on the on-deck circle. Calhoun worked an eight-pitch at-bat, but squandered the scoring opportunity by striking out swinging on a 3-2 fastball.
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Fulmer set career-best marks for total pitches (114) and called strikes (22). He's 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA through 19 2/3 innings in his career vs. the Angels.
"My fastball command was there for the most part, especially early in the game," Fulmer said. "I thought [McCann] did a great job receiving pitches as well. Maybe got a couple [strikes] called that were maybe just a little bit off the plate or a little up, but that gives credit to James. He does a great job back there, he works his butt off at it and it's paying off."
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will toe the rubber against the Tigers at Angel Stadium on Friday at 10:07 p.m. ET. He's coming off a no-decision last week in Oakland in which he allowed four runs through 5 2/3 innings.
Angels: Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (1-2, 5.21 ERA) will make his eighth start of the season on Friday night when the Angels continue their four-game series against the Tigers at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Shoemaker was charged with the loss in his last start against the Astros on Sunday after allowing five runs over six innings..