Trout hits first home run of 2016 to lift Angels past A's
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout waited out Sonny Gray just long enough for the Oakland ace to make his one mistake of the night.
When Gray's sinker in the sixth dropped over the plate, Trout did what he's done so many times to the Athletics.
Trout hit his first home run of the season, Nick Tropeano pitched five scoreless innings in his season debut and the Angels beat the A's 4-1 on Monday night.
''We pitched well tonight and held on,'' Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. ''When (Trout) feels it, he's aggressive. He put a good swing on it.''
Trout struck out looking twice but homered on the first pitch he saw from Gray in the sixth, a towering two-run shot that ricocheted off the right side of the bleachers just below the luxury suites in left-center field.
''He had thrown a lot of fastballs and was working in and out,'' Trout said. ''If you get a pitch to hit, you can't miss it especially against him. He can throw all his pitches for strikes. If you miss that one pitch, you put yourself in a hole.''
Trout's home run was the 140th of his career and the 17th against the A's.
Daniel Nava and C.J. Cron added RBI singles to help the Angels win their second straight following a 1-4 start.
Gray (1-1) was sharp in his second outing but lost for just the second time in 12 April starts. He allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings, struck out six and walked three.
''It was three pitches and they got three runs,'' Gray said. ''Trout was the dagger for us. When I threw it, I thought it was a good sinker, but it sunk a little too much and went right to his barrel.''
Tropeano (1-0) was just a little better.
Called up from Triple-A Salt Lake City last week after the Angels placed Andrew Heaney on the disabled list, Tropeano gave up six hits in five-plus innings. He struck out six, walked two and pitched out of two-on, two-out jams three times while stopping the A's three-game winning streak.
''Just making pitches when I had to and big plays from the defense,'' Tropeano said.
Huston Street retired one batter for his second save.
Marcus Semien singled in Oakland's lone run in the ninth.
PUJOLS FIRST AT FIRST
Albert Pujols went 1 for 3 and collected his first stolen base of the season. He also looked just fine in his first appearance at first base after being the Angels' designated hitter in the first six games of the season. Scioscia said the team will continue to monitor the 10-time All-Star closely after Pujols had right foot surgery in November. ''He knows his body better than us guessing it,'' Scioscia said.
Felix Doubront, projected to be Oakland's No. 5 starter, will have Tommy John surgery Tuesday to repair a torn elbow ligament. ''Felix made his mark here and I think he found a home for himself based on what he did last year, the versatility he brings us in any particular role we put him in,'' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ''I feel bad for him.''
Chris Coghlan was Oakland's DH, his fifth straight start at a different position. Coghlan started at second base, right field, left field and third base in his previous four games.
Angels: Scioscia is encouraged by the progress of pitcher Tyler Skaggs, though it could be some time before the left-hander is back in the majors. Skaggs gave up one run over three innings of a minor league start Sunday. He had Tommy John surgery in 2014. ... LHP Greg Mahle was recalled from Salt Lake City. RHP A.J. Achter was optioned down to make room.
Athletics: Coco Crisp made his third consecutive start in center but is likely to rest Tuesday. Crisp played in only 44 games in 2015 due to neck issues.
Angels: LHP Hector Santiago (0-0) faces the A's in the second game of the series Tuesday night. Santiago has a 3.14 ERA in 11 games against Oakland.
Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (0-1) pitches against Los Angeles hoping to end a six-game losing streak - longest by an Oakland pitcher since 2012.