Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo is trying to overcome his recent struggles… (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)
Mark Trumbo may have misplaced his batting stroke but not his sense of humor.
Back in the lineup Thursday after being held out the previous two days amid a deepening slump, the slugger hit a run-scoring single in the seventh inning as part of the Angels' six-run outburst.
"It felt good to mix it up a little bit and run that way [toward first base] for a change as opposed to walking the other way," Trumbo deadpanned after the Angels' 6-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium.
Trumbo finished one for four, dropping his average to .268. He said he was not able to exhale just because his hit contributed to a big inning.
"I just compete, you know?" he said. "One hit is not going to make or break my season, so it's nice, it felt good, but it's just a small piece of what we did today."
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia started Trumbo at first base against left-hander Brett Anderson because switch-hitter Kendrys Morales hits significantly better against right-handed pitchers.
Trumbo's first two at-bats did not go well. He grounded out in the second inning with a runner on second base and struck out in the fifth with a runner on third.
That didn't deter him during the Angels' breakthrough two innings later.
"That's Trumb," Scioscia said. "I mean, he turned the page, came back and got a big hit for us."
Can he build on that?
"We hope so," Scioscia said of a player who has hit .176 (25 for 142) over his last 37 games. "It's been awhile where we're hoping that Trumb has something positive he can move forward with, and he got a big hit this afternoon."
Of the Angels' remaining 18 games, nine are against teams with winning records.
That compares favorably with only one of the three teams they are chasing in the wild-card standings. Oakland will play 16 of its final 19 games against teams with records above .500; Baltimore will play six of 18 games against teams with winning records and New York will play only six of 19 games against teams with winning records.
"You're going to have good teams all over," Scioscia said of his team's schedule. "That's just the schedule. It's going to come down to how we play, and I think that's the perspective we need."
Infielder Maicer Izturis, who has not played since injuring his left rib cage Saturday, has resumed swinging a bat and could return as soon as Friday, when the Angels open a series in Kansas City. … Oakland left fielder Yoenis Cespedes left the game in the fifth inning after sustaining a sprained right wrist. He was listed as day to day.