With Trout’s blast, Angels unveil new HR celebration

With Trout’s blast, Angels unveil new HR celebration

Superstar goes yard in first inning of Halos’ home opener loss

6:41 AM UTC

ANAHEIM — Mike Trout had a sold-out Angel Stadium rocking on the very first pitch he saw at home this season.

Trout connected on a two-run home run on a fastball from Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt to give the Angels an early lead on Friday, sending the crowd into a frenzy just minutes after he caught the honorary first pitch from Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, who also wore No. 27 with the Angels.

The good vibes didn’t last, however, as the Angels couldn’t hold a two-run lead in the seventh inning of a 4-3 loss in their home opener. Lefty Matt Moore gave up a leadoff single and was removed with two outs for right-hander Jimmy Herget, who promptly gave up a base hit to George Springer and a three-run homer to Bo Bichette. It was another rough showing from the bullpen, which has been the club’s weakest link early this season.

“I just got a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it,” Trout said “In my other at-bats, I missed some pitches. It was a tough one.”

Trout rarely swings at the first pitch, but after Taylor Ward drew a leadoff walk, Trout jumped all over a 90 mph fastball down the middle for his second blast of the year. Of Trout’s 352 career homers, just 31 have come on the first offering.

It also helped Trout reach 900 RBIs in his career with the Angels, a feat only previously accomplished by Garret Anderson (1,292) and Tim Salmon (1,106). And it helped him debut the Angels new home run celebration, which includes a Samurai warrior helmet called a kabuto. It was Shohei Ohtani’s idea and was picked out by interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. Trout was bestowed the helmet by Brett Phillips.

“It was cool,” Trout said. “I couldn’t really see out of it. It was heavy, too. But it was cool. It was different, but it’s for the boys.”

It couldn’t quite spark the offense, though, as the Angels didn’t get their second hit until Ohtani singled with one out in the fifth inning. But they did score in the fourth, an inning keyed by a walk and a stolen base from Gio Urshela and a safety squeeze bunt from David Fletcher.

Manager Phil Nevin credited Bassitt for adjusting after Trout’s homer.

“He was really good after that,” Nevin said. “There’s a reason why he was one of the top free agents this offseason. The ball he left down the middle to Mike, he’s probably gonna say that was the one pitch he’d like back. He threw a lot of strikes. Getting three hits against a team like that is going to usually end up with the result we got.”

Trout, who went 1-for-4, also said Bassitt was tough, as he mixed his pitches well and started to locate better after the first inning.

“He was keeping us off-balance,” Trout said. “He was making pitches. He throwing it in and out. And just made his pitches.”

Ohtani also provided the Angels with their third and final hit, a double that clanked off the wall in right field to open the eighth. But Ohtani was stranded, as new additions Hunter Renfroe, Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury couldn’t bring him home.

It was a tough loss similar to Opening Day, when the Angels held a one-run lead in the eighth but couldn’t hold it. Nevin defended his decision to go with Herget to face right-handed hitters Springer and Bichette.

“He just made an uncharacteristic pitch right there,” Nevin said. “That’s fine. I trust him, I want to keep going to him in big situations and I think he’s our best right-on-right guy.”

Herget was frustrated with the loss after the game, as his outing spoiled a strong start from Patrick Sandoval — who allowed one run over six innings — as well as Trout’s homer.

“I throw a lot of breaking balls and it turns out it was the wrong pitch at the wrong time,” Herget said. “I’ve been leaving some pitches up and not getting righties out like I should. Just how it is, you know? I threw a lot of breaking balls last year, scouting reports come around. It’s just how it is. Wrong pitch, wrong time. And unfortunately, we lost the game because of it.”

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