Trout slugs HR in first leadoff at-bat since 2020

Trout slugs HR in first leadoff at-bat since 2020

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels manager Ron Washington was hoping to get a spark by putting Mike Trout in the leadoff spot.

The three-time AL MVP quickly obliged.

Hitting leadoff for the first time since 2020, Trout drove a fastball from Baltimore‘s Grayson Rodriguez off the auxiliary scoreboard above the wall in right-center field in the first inning to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead Tuesday night.

It was the sixth leadoff homer of Trout’s career and first since Sept. 28, 2012. Trout’s ninth home run of the season tied for the major league lead.

“I’m just trying to shake things up and trying to see if I can get some different cohesiveness with my lineup,” Washington said before the game.

The Angels entered it on a five-game losing streak.

Trout struggled at the plate over the previous seven games. He had gone 3 for 27 with eight strikeouts, including getting caught looking for the final out with the bases loaded in Monday night’s 4-2 loss to the Orioles.

Trout had a .236 batting average, on pace to be his lowest average in March and April in his career. He hit over .300 through the end of April the past three seasons.

It was the 163rd time in Trout’s 14-year, big league career that he topped the lineup, the first since the second game of a doubleheader against Houston on Aug. 25, 2020.

He hit leadoff in 138 games during his first full season in the majors in 2012, when he was voted AL Rookie of the Year.

Trout had batted first in only five games since 2014.

“He’s done it before, so it’s not foreign to him. If we can put him in there and get a run in the first inning I’m all for that. I’m just looking to try different things and see what works,” Washington said.

The three-time AL MVP was a career .321 hitter when in the leadoff spot with 33 home runs and a .398 on-base percentage.