With the Angels mired in an August slump and facing a 5-0 deficit Friday with one of the best pitchers in the league on the mound, they needed someone to step up. That someone -- as it has been many times this season -- turned out to be Mike Trout.
Trout came through with a career-high-tying five RBIs. But not all five RBI games are created equal. All of Trout’s damage came off of former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez, who was coming off a two-hit shutout in the Bronx. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Trout is the first player to drive in five runs off of Hernandez.
The last two RBIs came on a rare two-run sacrifice fly. It is the first two-RBI sac fly in the majors since Nate McLouth hit one to deep center for the Braves on Sept. 5, 2010, at Sun Life Stadium. The Angels last had one on Sept. 15, 1986 (Ruppert Jones with bases loaded, scored Dick Schofield and Bob Boone).
Mike Trout HR This Season
By Pitch Type
Sac fly rarity aside, the truly impressive feat was Trout’s three-run homer in the third inning. Trout took Hernandez deep on a changeup. This season right-handed hitters are 6-for-54 against Hernandez’s change (.111). In fact, the last righty to go deep off a Hernandez changeup was Jhonny Peralta three years ago on Aug. 23, 2009.
When your leadoff hitter is driving in runs, it means the bottom of the order is setting the table. Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar (8-for-16 in August) each reached base twice and scored twice. Aybar has been hot since returning from injury -- hitting .500 in August in 16 at-bats.