Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels surely welcome interleague play, particularly on the road.
The Atlanta Braves aren’t likely to share that sentiment.
With manager Mike Scioscia expected to return, Trout and the Angels look to continue their success against NL opponents with a second straight victory Sunday night at Turner Field.
Trout is a career .338 hitter in interleague play and is batting .393 in 26 career road games against the NL with 28 runs and 13 stolen bases.
That production is a big reason why Los Angeles (37-30) has won 11 of 14 against the NL dating to last season. The Angels pulled out a wild 11-6 victory in 13 innings Saturday, as Trout had three hits and four RBIs, two coming in a five-run 13th.
"We never quit and they never quit," said Trout, who is batting .372 with 21 RBIs in 21 games overall. "Give them props. They scored four runs against us in the ninth. But we kept battling and put ourselves in position to win the game."
Now, they’re expected to have Scioscia back on the bench after he left the team to attend the funeral of former Dodgers teammate Bob Welch in Arizona. Bench coach Dino Ebel has won all three games as Scioscia’s stand-in this season.
Los Angeles will try to win a third straight series when it sends Hector Santiago (0-6, 4.15 ERA) to the mound.
The left-hander pitched well enough to earn his first win Tuesday hours after being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake. He struck out a season-high eight over six scoreless innings of an eventual 2-1, 14-inning victory over Oakland.
Santiago lost a spot in the rotation last month, compiling a 7.82 ERA while losing three straight starts before being moved to the bullpen.
Scioscia was encouraged by Santiago’s latest outing.
"That’s the Hector Santiago that can go out there every time he gets the ball and pitch like that," Scioscia told the team’s official website. "Maybe not always the same results, but the way he went after hitters, the way he brought his other pitches into the game. It was textbook."
Santiago owns a 1.37 ERA in three interleague starts, but he hasn’t received a decision since he’s been backed by two total runs. He’s 0-3 with a 5.02 ERA in three road starts this season.
Atlanta (35-32) will be happy when interleague play ends after dropping seven of its first eight against the opposite league. Saturday’s loss was the fifth in six home games for the Braves, who have allowed 42 runs in the past five contests overall.
Evan Gattis has continued to swing a hot bat regardless of opponent or venue. He’s batting .411 (23 for 56) during a career-high 14-game hitting streak with seven homers and 17 RBIs, including two home runs and four RBIs in this series.
Another productive performance at the plate may be needed with Mike Minor (2-4, 4.31) trying to bounce back from one of the worst performances of his career.
The left-hander was hammered for a career high-tying eight runs and 11 hits while walking three and hitting another batter in four innings of a 13-10 win at Colorado on Tuesday.
He had a 2.21 ERA over his previous three starts, but owned an 0-2 record since he was backed by three total runs and none in each of those defeats – both at home.
Minor is 1-6 with a 4.67 ERA over his last nine home starts.