Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo hits a run-scoring triple during the fourth… (Leon Halip / Getty Images )
Reporting from Detroit — Angels outfielder Torii Hunter says first baseman Mark Trumbo is easily the strongest player on the team. He even came up with a nickname for the towheaded rookie: Bamm-Bamm, after the character from the Flintstones cartoon.
And like Bamm-Bamm, Trumbo carries a big club, one he used Thursday to pound his Angels to a 12-7 win over the Detroit Tigers in the afternoon opener of a four-game series at Comerica Park.
Trumbo had three hits, falling a single short of the cycle, and set career highs with three runs scored and five driven in to help the Angels break out of a deepening offensive slump.
In their three-game series in Cleveland, the Angels collected just seven runs and 16 hits combined. They had that many runs midway through the fourth inning Thursday and finished the day with 17 hits.
"There were a lot of things on the field that went well this afternoon. Things we're going to need," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "You're not always going to get the one guy that has the five RBIs, like Mark did this afternoon."
The homer was Trumbo's 19th of the season but just his second since the All-Star break. And the five RBIs, which gave him the team lead with 53, were just two fewer than he had in the second half coming in.
Those were numbers he was intent on improving.
"A rough day or two, you look at the batting average [and] you focus too much on that," said Trumbo, who was hitting .227 in July coming into Thursday. "It is important to an extent, but I try to block it out as much as possible and focus on driving the ball.
"Power and production and driving in runs, that's what I need to do. That's what first basemen are known for."
What first basemen aren't known for is for running the bases. But he did a lot of that Thursday as well.
"I got some running in, that's for sure," said Trumbo, who had a homer, triple and double in his first four at-bats, leaving him needing a single when he came to bat in the ninth.
"I had an idea," Trumbo said when asked whether he was aware of how close he was to the cycle, something no Angel has accomplished in five seasons. "I'm going to go out on a limb and say I knew when I got into second base on the [hit] before."
And though Trumbo drove a sharply hit grounder toward left field, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta made a routine play for the out.
Even so, Trumbo had a much better day than Angels starter Joel Pinero, who lost a chance at a victory when he couldn't get through the fourth inning despite pitching with a 7-2 lead.
"The guys set up a nice game for me and I blew it," he said.
It was the third straight poor performance for Pineiro, who has given up 15 runs in his last nine innings. The right-hander missed the first month of the season with shoulder tightness, but he and Scioscia insisted his recent problems are not physical.
"I don't know," said Pineiro (5-5). "I wish I could find an excuse and say why. There's nothing. I'm healthy."