ANAHEIM, Calif. – It’s almost getting ridiculous the way Mike Trout is able to conjure up new ways to win games for the Angels. Every day, he comes up with something new, something more spectacular than the previous performance.
His teammates have come to expect it, and so has Trout. His speed, his power, his fearless base running – all of it has become his calling card. It’s the way he plays the game, the only way he knows how.
The Angels are running hot, and Trout is the reason. They overcame a 5-0 deficit in the second inning Friday night and beat the Dodgers 8-5, marking their biggest comeback since last July. And it came in front of a home turnout of 44,548, the biggest one-game regular-season crowd in club history.
Two months ago, the Angels would have folded up quietly and lost a game like this. Friday, they were simply relentless, putting together two big innings – both with Trout’s help – and overcoming a horrid start by right-hander Dan Haren.
“The first month of the season if we were down 5-0, we’d have no chance,” Haren said. “But this ballclub, we’re very close and we’ve got each other’s backs. Today, everyone was picking me up after the first two innings saying, ‘We’re going to get this guy,’ and sure enough we did.”
The Angels scored six times off Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley, who pitched five innings but couldn’t hold the lead, which came in part from a three-run homer in the first by former Angel Bobby Abreu.
No one had a bigger impact than Trout.
The rookie center fielder gave the Angels their first lead of the game with a bases-empty, two-out homer in the fourth that broke a 5-5 tie. Then, in the sixth, he went from first base to home on a single to right by Torii Hunter.
Manager Mike Scioscia, asked if he had ever scored from first base on a single in his playing career, said, “Do I even have to answer that one? It’s got to be rhetorical, isn’t it?”
Unofficially, Trout is the fastest player in the game. He was running on the 3-and-2 pitch from reliever Jamey Wright and never slowed.
“When I looked up, (the ball) almost hit me,” Trout said. “I’m running hard all the time until I get that stop sign, and I didn’t see it so I just kept running.”
Third-base coach Dino Ebel knows Trout is capable of scoring on such a play, and when he saw that right fielder Andre Ethier was throwing the ball to the cutoff man rather than home, he kept waving Trout around the bases.
“It was all Trout,” Ebel said. “He was running hard through the bases, and I came down the line and saw Ethier throw the ball to (second baseman Jerry) Hairston, and felt we had a chance to score there. The credit goes to Trout because he was running through the bases. That’s how you run.”
The Angels must deal with one minor concern. Left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi left the game before the start of the seventh when he reported stiffness in his right hip while warming up.
And then there’s Haren, who has now surrendered 14 earned runs in his past 16 2/3 innings. But he survived, and so did the Angels.
They’ve won 10 of their last 13 games and 21 of 28, although they remain five games behind the streaking Texas Rangers in the American League West.
But no one can deny they’re on a streak of their own.
Afterward, Scioscia was asked if his team could have recovered from a five-run deficit earlier in the season.
“A game like this in April was tough for us to get back into,” he said. “But obviously, we’ve got many more pieces in place, a deeper lineup right now, and it’s given us a chance to come back and do the things we can do.”