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Trout, Trumbo hit two-run homers in Angels' win

The 9-7 victory over at Toronto is their 14th win in the last 18 games as well as their 14th win in the last 18 road games.

June 28, 2012|By Kevin Baxter

TORONTO -- For 81/2innings Thursday, it was deja vu all over again for the Angels.

Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout homered. Albert Pujols had a pair of doubles. Dan Haren struggled on the mound, giving up six runs in as many innings.

The team has been seeing all of that on a regular basis lately.

Then, three outs from victory, the Angels saw something they haven't seen before: Ernesto Frieri struggling.

The lights-out reliever, who had given up just four hits in 22 scoreless innings, surrendered back-to-back hits to start the ninth before loading the bases with a one-out walk. But he got the next batter, Edwin Encarnacion, to bounce into a game-ending double play, preserving not only his own scoreless streak but the Angels' four-game winning streak as well by saving a 9-7 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

And as Frieri confessed afterward, he clearly values one of those streaks over the other.

"I know that maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day, I'm going to give up a run," he said. "Because I'm not perfect. I'm a human. So whenever that comes, I'm going to be fine.

"The only thing that I want is whenever that happens, it doesn't cost the game."

To do that, Frieri said he'll need to make adjustments. For too long he's been relying solely on a darting mid-90s fastball. And as great a pitch as that is, hitters have begun catching up to it.

"They're looking fastball all the time now," he said. "I'm not Mariano Rivera, the guy who pitches for 18 seasons just using one pitch. I wish.

"I'm going to have to make adjustments. That's how you get better."

If that's true, then he started getting better Thursday against Encarnacion. Because with the Blue Jays' second-best hitter looking fastball, he threw a slider and Encarnacion was way out in front, tapping the ball to short to end the game.

And with that the Angels avoided wasting Pujols' first four-hit game as an Angel as well as another big night from Trout and Trumbo.

With two hits, including his eighth home run of the season, Trout ran his hitting streak to a career-best 10 games, during which he's hit .422 with 13 runs scored. As for Trumbo, he had a homer, a triple and three runs batted in, adding to the impressive numbers he's putting up everywhere except in the balloting for next month's All-Star game.

Trumbo is hitting .315 with 19 homers and 53 runs batted in, making him one of just three American League players to rank in the league's top 10 in all three Triple Crown categories. The other two -- Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton and Boston designated hitter David Ortiz -- are the leading vote-getters at their positions. Trumbo isn't even close.

"It would be nice, obviously," Trumbo said of making the All-Star roster, which will be announced Sunday. "But there's not going to be any hard feelings. It's a great experience, but I guess I won't be terribly disappointed if it doesn't work out. There's a lot of great players out there."

The vote totals are just about the only numbers that aren't going the Angels' way these days. The team has won 25 of its last 33, is 17-7 in June and has lost just once on the road since May 22.

And in the first three games of this trip. the Angels have scored 29 runs and pounded out 47 hits.

They haven't been able to make up much ground on the division-leading Texas Rangers, though. The Angels entered June trailing Texas by 51/2games and they'll begin play Friday just one game closer.

But Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, repeating a mantra he's used for years, said it's far too early to start watching those numbers closely.

"We have a long way to way," he said. "We have to keep improving as a team. And if we're playing the way we're capable of, it will be reflected in the standings."

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