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Mike Trout may be slumping — as much as the league's best player can be said to slump, anyway — but that didn't stop him from turning in some late-inning heroics Thursday night. With two on in the ninth inning and the Angels down two runs to the Rays, Trout belted a three-run blast to leftfield off Tampa reliever Brad Boxberger to give Los Angeles a stunning 6-5 come-from-behind win. The homer, Trout's eighth of the season, was also the first walkoff dinger of his brief but brilliant major league career.
Down 5-2 going into the ninth, the Angels wasted no time in rallying. Facing Rays closer Grant Balfour, leadoff hitter Hank Conger drew a walk on eight pitches, followed by a six-pitch walk to Efren Navarro. A Colin Cowgill single to right scored Conger to make it 5-3 and chase Balfour, as Joe Maddon turned to Boxberger to try to pick up the last three outs. Boxberger never even got past his first batter, as Trout took the first two pitches, then hammered a 1-1 changeup to end the game and send the fans home happy.
Though the rest of Trout's night was nothing special — two strikeouts to add to his league-leading total of 52, plus a groundball that ate up Yunel Escobar
at shortstop — the walkoff homer could provide him a spark as he tries to battle out of one of the worst slumps of his career. It's Trout's first homer since May 9 against Toronto and just his second of the month; the blast upped Trout's RBI total in May to a mere nine. In fact, since the calendar flipped to May 1, Trout is hitting just .157/.262/.392 with a whopping 18 strikeouts. But luckily for Trout and the Angels, the 22-year-old superstar came through at precisely the right moment.