Aggressive Trout homers twice; Angels crush Rockies
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Mike Trout hit two homers and drove in six runs, emergency fill-in Drew Rucinski set down the first 12 Colorado Rockies batters, and the Los Angeles Angels cruised to an 11-0 win Tuesday.
Trout followed his two-run shot off David Hale in the fifth with a three-run drive off Brett Marshall an inning later. The 2014 AL MVP added an RBI groundout in a dominating spring that has him at .545 with three homers and 10 RBIs in nine games.
Trout believes his decision to swing at more first pitches is paying off.
''That's what's getting me ready to hit, rather than going up there and taking the first one,'' Trout said. ''Being aggressive, that's how I want to be.''
Rucinski, whose big league career consists of three relief appearances for the Angels a year ago, struck out Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Morneau and two others. The right-hander was lifted after walking Gonzalez to lead off the fifth.
Rucinski replaced C.J. Wilson, who was scratched due to illness.
''Hopefully this helps me,'' Rucinski said of his roster chances. ''But this is baseball. You never know. It's a crazy game. I've seen a lot of sides of it. I just hope to keep seeing more of it.''
Despite a regular-season-looking lineup, the Rockies didn't get their first hit until Audry Perez's leadoff single in the sixth.
Angels: The 26-year-old Rucinski, who went undrafted, also struck out Drew Stubbs and Nick Hundley. He threw first-pitch strikes to 11 of 13 hitters. ''What Drew did today, that was impressive,'' Trout said.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis, who last started in 2013, would like to return to the rotation. He helped his chances with two scoreless innings in his spring debut.
''That's what we came into camp talking about, starting again,'' Bettis said.
Bettis, who pitched 21 games in relief last season, allowed only David Freese's first-inning double and struck out two.
Angels: Wilson's status for the first week of the regular season is uncertain now that the left-hander has missed two straight starts. Wilson skipped his previous start with a sore left knee and hasn't pitched since March 7. ''Hopefully, it's just a 24-hour bug,'' manager Mike Scioscia said.
Rockies: Manager Walt Weiss said LHP Jorge De La Rosa (groin) ''bounced back great'' from his twice-delayed first start Sunday in a ''B'' game. He threw a side session Tuesday.
TULO SPEEDS UP
Tulowitzki, known for his lengthy between-pitches routine, had no interest in discussing MLB's new pace of play changes. Tulowitzki said only he's doing what baseball tells him.
Based on data compiled by the website FanGraphs, Tulowitzki took the second-longest time between pitches in the majors last season among players with at least 300 at-bats, 27.9 seconds. Only the Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez (28.1) took longer.
Colorado's Corey Dickerson (27.5) was the third-slowest.
Tulowitzki, who went 0 for 2, has been keeping at least one foot in the box during most of his spring at-bats, one of the key changes.
''Tulo and Corey have some routines and take some time in between pitches,'' Weiss said. ''But I think both of them have adapted well.''
THE OL' 6-5-3
You don't see a 6-5-3 play every day - especially with no deflection involved.
With one out in the third, Albert Pujols grounded to Tulowitzki at short as Kole Calhoun broke off second. Tulowtizki fired the ball to third baseman Nolan Arenado, but he was several feet from the bag and had no chance to tag Calhoun.
So Arenado immediately turned and threw off balance to first to get Pujols in plenty of time.
''That's a first for me,'' Weiss said. ''But nothing Nolan does surprises me. Pretty good awareness right there.''
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney starts Wednesday against the Dodgers.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Matzek starts vs. San Diego and RHP Jon Gray faces Arizona in a split-squad, day-night home doubleheader Wednesday.