Earlier this week, Mike Trout had a chance to meet Al Kaline, the Hall of Famer who played for the Detroit Tigers and won a batting title in 1955 when he was 20 years old.
After another four-hit night, Trout looks like he’s on his way to a similar feat.
Trout raised his American League-leading average to .355 on Tuesday night with the fourth four-hit game of his spectacular rookie season. His 430-foot shot in the second inning was the second of five Los Angeles homers, and the Angels went on to rout the Tigers 13-0.
Trout, who turns 21 next month, said he met Kaline on Monday.
”My mom lived in Michigan. She was a big fan of him growing up,” Trout said. ”That was pretty neat meeting him.”
Trout, Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols all homered off Jacob Turner in the first two innings, and Alberto Callaspo and Kendrys Morales went deep later in the game. The Tigers were shut out for the first time in 159 games, a franchise-record streak that began last July 17 – exactly a year earlier to the day.
Garrett Richards (3-1) allowed three hits in seven innings, easily outdueling Turner (0-1) in a matchup of top pitching prospects. The Detroit right-hander lasted only two innings, giving up seven runs and six hits on a 100-degree night.
”Jacob is a potential top-of-the-rotation guy who just needs more seasoning,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. ”I still expect to see him high in a rotation someday, but he’s not ready yet.”
The Angels lead the major leagues with 14 shutouts.
Pujols opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first, and Trumbo followed with his 26th homer of the year, a three-run shot. Trout’s two-run homer in the second was the most impressive – an opposite-field drive to right-center that made it 6-0.
”It felt good off the bat,” Trout said. ”I was running pretty hard, because it’s a big park.”
Pujols added a solo shot in the second.
Trout now has 100 hits this season in 69 games. He entered the day with a 20-point lead over Joe Mauer in the AL batting race.
Pujols and Howard Kendrick had three hits each. Trumbo has six homers in his last eight games.
Detroit needed to send Turner to the mound because of an injury to fellow rookie Drew Smyly. Leyland talked a bit before the game about the challenges young pitchers face when they have to learn on the job at the major league level.
The 21-year-old Turner was recalled from the minors before the game to make his fifth career start, and he was in trouble from the beginning in a game that began amid triple-digit heat.
Trumbo’s homer went an estimated 415 feet to left. Trout’s was even longer, landing in the outfield seats and bouncing up onto a concourse above Sparky Anderson’s retired No. 11.
Trumbo playfully disputed the estimated distances of the homers, which put Trout’s farther than his by 15 feet.
”That didn’t go farther,” he said. ”Conspiracy. League-wide conspiracy. You’ve got to hit it to the middle of the field, I’m convinced now.”
Pujols’ homer was the 461st of his career, tying Chipper Jones for 33rd on the career list.
The Angels put their leadoff man on in each of the first six innings. Morales drove in another run in the sixth with a single, and Callaspo’s three-run homer later that inning made it 11-0.
In the bottom half, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera hit a line drive to right, but Torii Hunter made a diving catch. Richards, who is four years older than Turner, walked four but pitched comfortably with a big lead.
Morales hit a solo homer in the eighth, and Peter Bourjos hit an RBI double in the ninth.
Notes: Detroit’s Doug Fister (3-6) takes the mound against C.J. Wilson (9-5) of the Angels on Wednesday night. … Angels RHP Dan Haren (lower back stiffness) made a rehab start Monday night, pitching five innings for Class A Inland Empire. OF Vernon Wells (right thumb surgery) is expected to start a rehab assignment this weekend. … Trout’s homer was his 13th of the year. Pujols’ was his 16th. … Detroit’s Austin Jackson had his streak of 13 games with a run snapped. … Detroit’s last game without a run was last July 16, a 5-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox.