Angels club five homers, shut out Tigers

Angels club five homers, shut out Tigers

Angels club five homers, shut out Tigers
DETROIT -- The offense set season highs with 18 hits and five homers, starter Garrett Richards helped blank the Tigers for the first time in 159 games and the team notched its largest shutout in more than eight years.

Tuesday was just one of those fun nights for the Angels.

So what if it was almost 100 degrees outside?

"You hit five home runs, it's obviously a great night," manager Mike Scioscia said after his club's 13-0 thrashing at Comerica Park, the Tigers' first shutout since last July 16. "A good breakout night for us."

On a hot, windy day in the Motor City, the Angels pulled away early, scoring seven runs in the first two innings to end Jacob Turner's night after six outs, and added on late.

Almost everybody got involved.

Mike Trout went 4-for-6 with an impressive opposite-field homer, increasing his American League-leading batting average to .355. Albert Pujols homered and reached base four times, getting three hits to put his batting average at .278 -- the highest it's been since April 19. Howie Kendrick added a 3-for-5 night. Mark Trumbo went 2-for-5 with a three-run homer, his team-leading 26th.

And the Angels -- losers of three of their first four second-half games, with the bullpen blowing two of them -- have notched double-digit runs in seven of their last 32 games, after getting zero through their first 59.

"The whole lineup," Trout said, "once we start swinging it, we're going to be tough to beat."

They're tough to beat now because Trout and Trumbo have been so dangerous.

Trumbo leads the AL in slugging percentage (.634), has hit six homers in his last eight games -- he'd have eight if not for being robbed by Nick Swisher on Friday and hitting a 423-foot out on Monday -- and leads the Majors in homers (20) and RBIs (46) since May 25.

Trout is batting .417 since June 19 and has scored a run in nine straight games. He has a 22-point lead on Minnesota's Joe Mauer in the AL batting-title race -- on pace to become the third 20-year-old to ever win it -- and is the third-fastest player in Angels history to reach 100 hits in a season.

His two-run homer to right-center field in the second inning traveled 442 feet, making it the second-longest opposite-field homer this year, according to ESPN.

"I was on that side when I was young, putting up those kind of numbers early in my career, and some of the veteran guys around were enjoying it. It's fun," Pujols said. "Those guys come to play, they don't take anything for granted, they don't let the numbers get to their head. They come prepared, same routine, they go out there and perform and help the club win."

Richards, called up to take Dan Haren's spot in the rotation, was lights out with the early cushion, hurling seven shutout innings to put him at 3-1 with a 3.53 ERA during his two stints with the Angels.

The 24-year-old gave up 17 runs (12 earned) in 8 2/3 innings during his previous two starts in the Majors, then was hit hard in his return to Triple-A. Against the Tigers, he walked four, but only gave up three hits, put two runners in scoring position and controlled counts more effectively.

"Tonight was one of those special nights," Richards said. "I had everything working. I had the curveball, slider was good, glove-side fastball was good, and my sinker was on tonight. When you put all those together and you command the zone, you're going to have a good night."

The Angels seemed destined for a good night from the beginning. Trout led off the game with a base hit, advanced to second on Torii Hunter's walk and scored on Pujols' RBI single. Trumbo, finally batting cleanup against a right-handed starter, then got a flat 0-2 sinker down the middle and smoked it into the left-center-field bleachers, giving the Angels an early 4-0 lead.

Then it was Trout's turn. With Bobby Wilson on first to start the second inning, the 20-year-old phenom hit a blast to right-center field, a ball that bounced off the stands and over the brick wall. Two batters later, Pujols hit a solo shot to left field, giving him 16 on the year and putting the Angels on top, 7-0.

Trumbo, Trout and Pujols have hit 16 of the Angels' Major League-leading 24 homers in July.

"I made some mistakes and they made some good swings and took advantage of them," said Turner, the Tigers' top prospect making just his fifth Major League start, and second this season.

"There's pitches up here that you pay for a lot more than you might down there [in the Minors]. I'm just getting a little sharper on everything."

The early production and Richards' dominance prompted Scioscia to essentially clear his bench by the seventh inning, and almost everyone wound up contributing.

Alberto Callaspo hit a three-run homer in the sixth, part of a four-run inning that made it a blowout. Kendrys Morales hit a solo shot in the eighth, just his second homer in his last 27 games. And Peter Bourjos got in on the act, capping an eight-pitch at-bat with an RBI double in the ninth.

Fun for everyone.

"You don't want to be the guy that breaks the chain, I guess," Trumbo said. "When everybody in front of you is getting it done, you go up there with the mindset that you can, too."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.