Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani back to back homers


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SEATTLE — Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani connected on back-to-back homers in the sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough offense for the Angels in a 4-3 loss to the Mariners on Friday at T-Mobile Park.
Veteran right-hander Mike Leake kept the Angels scoreless through the first five innings before Trout

SEATTLE — Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani connected on back-to-back homers in the sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough offense for the Angels in a 4-3 loss to the Mariners on Friday at T-Mobile Park.

Veteran right-hander Mike Leake kept the Angels scoreless through the first five innings before Trout unloaded on a 2-2 changeup with two outs in the sixth and crushed it to left for his team-leading 13th homer of the year. On the very next pitch, Ohtani deposited a sinker to left for his third homer of the year, marking the first time the Angels had homered in consecutive at-bats this season.

Box score

“I was going to swing at the first pitch if it was over the plate,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “It caught a good part of the plate so I was able to do it. I was kind of hiding under the shadow of Trout’s homer.”

The Halos nearly mounted a game-tying rally in the eighth when Ohtani came through with a two-out RBI single off lefty reliever Jesse Biddle after Luis Rengifo and Trout walked. Right-hander Anthony Bass was brought in with the bases loaded to face Jonathan Lucroy, who hit a soft liner to left that was snared by Domingo Santana to end the inning.

“It had a little too much air under it,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “We’ve never given up. We’ve had much deeper deficits than that and gotten back into the game. Today, we just needed to get Leake out of there quicker, and it didn’t happen.”

Leake went seven strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits. Trout had the hardest hit of the night, as his solo blast had an exit velocity of 114.4 mph and went a projected 440 feet. It was tied for the third-hardest-hit homer by Trout since Statcast was introduced in 2015. His hardest is 116.8 mph.

“He’s just a smart pitcher,” Ausmus said of Leake. “Never shows you the same look twice, uses all of his pitches — cutter, sinker, both sides of the plate, in on righties, in on lefties, changes arm slot on curve at times. He doesn’t light the radar gun up, but he’s a very smart pitcher who has command of all his pitches.”

Skaggs done in by homers

Lefty Tyler Skaggs was also solid, but he was hurt by backup catcher Tom Murphy, who had a big night at the plate. Murphy sparked a rally in the third with a double off the left-field wall and went to third on a balk before scoring on a single from Dylan Moore with the infield in. In his next at-bat, Murphy connected on a two-run homer in the fifth to give the Mariners a three-run lead.

“Gotta tip your cap,” Skaggs said. “He was ready to go today. I thought first pitch was not a bad pitch. Second one, curve hung up on me. I haven’t given up an opposite-field curveball home run in a long time.”

Skaggs was correct in his assertion. It was the first time he’d given up such homer in his career, per Statcast. He went a season-high seven innings, but he also served up Jay Bruce’s 300th career home run in his final frame that gave the Mariners a two-run lead.

Skaggs was charged with four runs on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.50. Skaggs got ahead of Murphy and Bruce with 0-2 counts, only to see both battle back and hit critical homers.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Skaggs said. “I thought I threw my [butt] off today. I thought I was really, really good. The results didn’t show up, but at the same time, a lot of positives today, thought that was the best I looked this year. I want to keep it rolling into the next one.”

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.



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