In a game where offense was hard to find, Mike Trout’s struggles at the plate stood out.
With a chance to kick off a critical seven-game homestand with success, he still found a way to create a run, one that didn’t require swinging the bat.
Trout scored on a game-ending wild pitch, Shohei Ohtani hit his 26th home run and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on Monday.
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«You know, I was playing a couple at-bats, but I just (wanted) to get on base and make things happen,» Trout said after sliding home headfirst on Aaron Bummer’s misthrow. «That was a pitching battle, and (we) came out on top. That’s all you can ask for.»
After striking out in each of his first three appearances, Trout drew a leadoff walk against Reynaldo Lopez (2-5). Bummer then came in to face Ohtani, who drew his own path from him. The two Angels’ superstars successfully executed a double steal, setting up Trout’s feat and the team’s second victory on a wild pitch this season.
«I know Mike struck out three times, but that walk is huge,» Angels manager Phil Nevin said. «And then he uses his legs. He’s still a complete five-tool guy who can make the difference without hitting like he has. The top two stepped up today, and we usually win those.»
Carlos Esteves (2-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
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Ohtani bolstered his bid for the AL player of the month award by tying the game at 1 with a massive 446-foot homer to right field, his 11th home run in the last 19 games. He has 21 RBIs in that stretch, including four straight games driving in a run.
Luis Robert Jr. homered for the third straight game for the White Sox, who put a runner in scoring position.
«That ninth inning is magnified, but one run is not going to be enough,» Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. «That’s the way it is in this league.»
Robert’s solo throw to left field in the first inning was his 22nd of the season, continuing a hot streak for the 25-year-old that included being named AL player of the week Monday after hitting .400 (6 15) with three home runs and four RBIs in four games against Texas and Boston. He went deep twice in a 4-1 win on Sunday to put an exclamation point on the series.
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Robert and Ohtani were the only hitters to break through a night of outstanding starting pitching from the Angels’ Reid Detmers and Dylan Cease for the White Sox.
Detmers struck out eight and allowed one run, two hits and one walk in six innings.
«He gets better and better every start,» Nevin said. «He’s starting to understand what that slider does. He’s able to control not only speed but also shapes.»
Cese struck out 10 over six innings, allowing one run, five hits and one walk. He left after giving up singles to Brandon Drury and Mike Moustakas, but Joe Kelly came on to strike out Taylor Ward and have Matt Thaiss hit a double play.
«Obviously losing is always hard, but I’m proud of how we fought,» Cease said. «It was a close game and sometimes that’s how it ends.»
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Moustakas made his Angels debut after being acquired in a trade from Colorado on Saturday, going 1 for 3 and playing first base.
The Angels placed newly acquired IF Eduardo Escobar on the restricted list Monday so he can take a test to become a US citizen on Tuesday. General manager Perry Minasian said Escobar will be back in the lineup Wednesday, with a chance to play Tuesday night.
«It was very, very important to him, and I don’t blame him,» Minasian said.
The Venezuelan-born Escobar was added in a trade from the Mets on Friday to help bolster an injury-depleted infield for the Angels, who recently lost Gio Urshela to a probable season-ending fractured pelvis and have at 3B Anthony Rendon and rookie SS Zach Neto. on the disabled list.
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White Sox: RHP Michael Kopech (3-6) hasn’t made it past the fifth inning in any of his last three starts. He took the loss against Texas on Wednesday after giving up three runs in four innings.
Angels: Ohtani (6-3) had one of his best outings of the season despite taking a 2-0 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings while striking out 12.