MILWAUKEE (AP) The curveball hung over the plate, an enticing pitch that Mike Trout quickly turned into a rally-starting solo home run in the eighth inning.
Five batters later, the Los Angeles Angels had secured the lead for good thanks to a run-scoring double by pinch hitter C.J. Cron, avoiding a three-game sweep to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Trout had an RBI triple and sparked the four-run eighth with his homer the opposite way in right, and the bullpen shut out the Brewers after the sixth in the Angels' 7-3 win on Wednesday.
''Those were huge at-bats. The breaking ball he hit out to right, not many guys are going to be able to put a swing like that on that pitch,'' manager Mike Scioscia said.
Trout has 18 RBIs in his last 13 games after the four-time All Star started the season In a 5-for-27 slump.
''Yeah, I feel good at the plate. I just made some slight adjustments. I'm getting the foot down,'' Trout said. ''I'm seeing pitches like I should be and not missing pitches.''
Tyler Thornburg (2-1) gave up Trout's homer after throwing the 0-2 curve.
''It all boils down to execution for the pitcher. It's an 0-2 count so Thorny is looking to throw a ball there but he just left it in the strike zone,'' manager Craig Counsell said.
It only got worse for Thornburg, who allowed the looping double to Cron.
The rally gave the Angels a confidence boost before heading back home. They went 2-4 on a six-game trip.
WHAT A RELIEF
Fernando Salas (2-1) pitched a scoreless inning, and Joe Smith threw two shutout innings for his second save.
Smith, who is closing because Huston Street is on the disabled list, likes the way that the bullpen has responded during the trip.
''Sometimes you just have to step up and do it,'' Smith said about going two innings.
NOT A RELIEF
Milwaukee took a 3-2 lead in the sixth when Hernan Perez scrambled home from third on Cam Bedrosian's wild pitch.
After a solid start by young-right hander Zach Davies, manager Craig Counsell turned the game over a relief corps that has performed well in late-game situations.
But Thornburg was hit hard by the heart of the Angels order, allowing four runs and three hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Davies went six innings, allowing five hits and two runs, along with three walks and three strikeouts.
Trout, now hitting .317, led off the eighth with his seventh homer this season. After Cron's double, Johnny Giovatella added a two-run single to give the Angels a three-run lead.
The rally got Hector Santiago off the hook for the loss after the starter gave up three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. He's glad Trout is on his team.
''He was hitting .200 ... Then we looked up yesterday and he's hitting .313 and we were like, `What is going on here?''' Santiago said. ''He's locked in, man.''
Perez, who was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs last week, hit a solo homer in the second and finished 2 for 4. He's hitting .385, and Counsell indicated that Perez could continue to get opportunities against left-handed pitching.
Angels: It's uncertain whether Garrett Richards will make his next scheduled start on Friday after the right-hander worked just four innings in his previous appearance on Sunday because of dehydration and cramping. Manager Mike Scioscia said Richards would most likely skip his bullpen session and just throw on flat ground to monitor his progress.
Brewers: RF Domingo Santana did not start because of right shoulder tightness. It was the second time in three games that Santana was a late scratch because of the injury. Alex Presley replaced Santana in right, with shortstop Jonathan Villar moving into the leadoff spot.
Angels: The team gets an off day on Thursday before returning home to start a three-game series with Tampa. Scioscia said he's a contingency plan in case Richards (1-3) cannot make the start.
Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (1-3) is 2-0 with an 0.44 ERA in three career starts against Cincinnati, where the Brewers begin a four-game series on Thursday.
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