Mike Trout and Albert Pujols celebrate after scoring runs in the eighth inning against the Indians.
Mike Trout is on a tear, and that’s especially true at home.
Trout looks to build on a clutch performance and help Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels to another victory over the sliding Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.
Trout is 6 for 11 with a pair of walks in his last three games, and leads Los Angeles with a .327 average. He’s been even better at home, batting .409 while getting at least two hits in eight of 10 games.
He did that again Monday, connecting for a triple before his run-scoring single in the eighth put the Angels (12-13) ahead for good in a 6-3 win over Cleveland.
Trout is 6 for 16 with three extra-base hits and seven runs in four career home meetings with the Indians.
Weaver (1-2, 4.11 ERA) hasn’t been nearly as successful at home against Cleveland, going 1-3 with a 5.35 ERA in seven starts. That includes losing the last two while surrendering eight runs and 15 hits in 12 innings.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.85 ERA in two home starts so far this season, but enters this one looking to build on a pair of strong outings on the road. He gave up a run and three hits in six innings of an 11-6 win at Detroit on April 18, then allowed a run in six again Wednesday at Washington before the bullpen surrendered four in the ninth in a 5-4 loss.
Ernesto Frieri blew the save that day but has since been replaced as the Angels’ closer by Joe Smith, who got his first save by throwing a scoreless ninth Monday.
"I don’t think your attitude changes," said Smith, a member of the Indians for the past five years. "I mean, if you’re coming on in the seventh or eighth inning, the goal is the same: get out of the inning with a zero and hand the ball off to the next guy. Now, the goal is to get out of the inning with a zero and slap hands. It doesn’t matter what inning I’m throwing. I pitch people the same."
Cleveland (11-15) hasn’t been much of a threat at the plate during a four-game slide, batting .171 while scoring eight runs. The Indians are 3 for 24 with runners in scoring position over the same span, and got all of their runs in the series opener on a homer by Carlos Santana.
Santana had two hits Monday after going 4 for 60 over the previous 17 games. He’s 7 for 14 with four walks in his career versus Weaver.
The Indians should feel good about their chances of bouncing back if Corey Kluber (2-2, 3.90) can pitch anything like he did Thursday. The right-hander tossed his first career complete game in a 5-1 win over Kansas City, collecting a career-high 11 strikeouts while not allowing an earned run in a four-hitter.
He became the first Cleveland pitcher to throw a complete game while recording 11 strikeouts, no walks or earned runs since Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981.
"That was really fun to watch," manager Terry Francona said. "He had everything working. His fastball was going both ways, change-up, location. He worked ahead and he threw a ton of strikes. That was really impressive."
While Kluber hasn’t faced the Angels before, he’s 0-1 while surrendering seven runs in 10 2-3 innings over two road starts this year.