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DETROIT -- Albert Pujols hit his 497th home run and Howie Kendrick added two of his own to lead the Los Angeles Angels to an 11-6 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.

The Angels chased Detroit starter Drew Smyly (1-1) after three innings and then added seven runs off reliever Luke Putkonen. Los Angeles finished with 13 hits, 10 for extra bases.

Kendrick hit two-run homers in the third and fourth, and Pujols lined a three-run shot to left field in the sixth to give the Angels an 11-1 lead.

Jered Weaver (1-2) allowed a run and three hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out three.

The Angels have won 10 straight against the Tigers, the longest active streak in the majors by one team over another.


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Trout, Cabrera get to go head-to-head

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
12:54
AM PT
Getty ImagesMike Trout and Miguel Cabrera will face off for the first time this season Friday.
The Los Angeles Angels start a three-game set with the Detroit Tigers on Friday. It will be a great chance to see two-time reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera and two-time runner up Mike Trout go head-to-head.

Plenty has been written about whom should have taken home those last two MVP awards, but I won't attempt to pile on in this post.

What I do want to compare is the two players through the same amount of MLB games played. Trout has now played 351 career games, and while Cabrera definitely hit the ground running when he was brought up as a 20-year-old in 2003, the slight edge so far, through a little over two seasons worth of games, is definitely with the Angels center fielder.

It's tough to do a straight comparison between the two as the players have filled different roles offensively for their teams. But when you factor in that Trout was a little younger when he debuted and has batted primarily in the one or two hole in his career, the comparable power numbers to Cabrera are incredibly impressive.

Add to that Trout's impact on defense and on the basepaths and his recently-signed six-year, $144.5 million contract extension was a no-brainer for the Halos' front office.

Matchup to watch this weekend
Trout will face one of the best power pitchers in the league Saturday in Max Scherzer. In 10 previous plate appearances against Scherzer, Trout has three hits, including a line-drive homer on a slider to the low-inside portion of the strike zone.

Despite the small sample size, Trout's history against the Tigers' righty suggests he should try to take advantage of offspeed pitches. He is 0-6 with five strikeouts in at-bats against Scherzer that have ended in a fastball.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Chris Iannetta homered with two outs in the 12th inning against Drew Pomeranz, giving the Los Angeles Angels a 5-4 victory over the Oakland Angels on Wednesday night.

Pomeranz (1-1) retired David Freese on a grounder to second base and Raul Ibanez on a foul pop to the catcher before Iannetta drove the next pitch to center field and just out of the reach of a leaping Craig Gentry, ending Oakland's four-game winning streak.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia got six scoreless innings out of his much-maligned bullpen, as the Athletics stranded runners in scoring position in the 10th, 11th and 12th. Joe Smith (1-0), who failed to retire any of the five batters he faced in the eighth inning of the Angels' 10-9 loss on Tuesday night, pitched a scoreless inning for the victory.


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Kole Calhoun (ankle) on DL

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
7:09
PM PT

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels have placed outfielder Kole Calhoun on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of a sprained ligament in his right ankle and selected outfielder Brennan Boesch to the major league roster.

Calhoun is batting .250 with three homers and six RBIs in 14 games. He had been playing right field in place of injured slugger Josh Hamilton. Calhoun is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after rolling in his ankle in the 11th inning of the Angels' 10-9 loss to Oakland on Tuesday night.

Boesch, who signed with the Angels in January as a free agent, began the season with Triple-A Salt Lake. He played in 23 games last year with Yankees after spending his first three big league seasons with Detroit.

To make room for Boesch on the 40-man roster, the Angels transferred right-handed pitcher Ryan Brasier to the 60-day DL.


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Mike Trout finally steals a base

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
12:21
PM PT
Mike Trout hit a two-run game-tying home run in the ninth inning on Tuesday night.

A less dramatic play came in the 11th when Trout reached on an infield single and stole second base -- his first steal of the season. After Albert Pujols was intentionally walked -- yes, the A’s put the winning run on base -- Raul Ibanez and Howie Kendrick grounded out and the A’s won 10-9.

Back in spring training, Trout said he wanted to get back to stealing more bases, after he dropped from 49 in 2012 to 33 in 2013. "I thought my stolen bases were down last year," he said. "I have to take advantage of taking that extra base."

Tuesday’s stolen base was his first attempt of the year. While the lack of stolen bases is certainly frustrating to his fantasy owners, Trout’s baserunning has also been a significant part of his value. Over the past two seasons, Baseball-Reference rates his baserunning -- including stolen bases, caught stealing and advancing on hits or fly balls and so on -- as worth 12.9 runs above the average player. Jacoby Ellsbury, at 10.4, was the only other player above 10 runs.

Another way to examine this is by looking at potential stolen base opportunities. In 2012, he had 246 opportunities when he was on first base or second with the base ahead of him open. He attempted 54 steals (22 percent of the time). In 2013, he had 40 attempts out of 326 opportunities (12 percent). This year, he’s one of out 21.

Is Trout’s speed already declining at age 22? I wouldn’t go that far just yet. In 2012, he did take the extra base (more than one base on a single, more than two on double) 65 percent of the time and that was down to 59 percent in 2013. So far in 2014, that number is at 100 percent.

Trout has hit second and Pujols third in all 14 Angels games and I wonder if Trout has seen the stop sign from Mike Scioscia in order to not force Pujols to take pitches and get down in the count. A similar thing happened last year. Trout spent most of April hitting second in front of Pujols and had just one stolen base through his first 16 games. (A quick Google search didn’t find any revealing quotes from Trout on his lack of steals thus far.)

It could just be that Trout doesn’t like to run as much in April. Of course, when you’re hitting doubles (3), triples (1) and home runs (5) there’s not as much need to steal a bag anyway.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Josh Donaldson drove in Jed Lowrie with an 11th-inning double, and the Oakland Athletics overcame Mike Trout's tying homer in the ninth for a 10-9 victory against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.

Lowrie led off the 11th with a single against Yoslan Herrera (0-1), the Angels' seventh pitcher. Donaldson hit a sharp grounder inside third base for the AL-leading A's, who have won four straight and eight of nine.

Jim Johnson (2-2) pitched two innings for Oakland, getting Howie Kendrick on a groundout with Trout and Albert Pujols in scoring position to end it.

Trout hit a two-run shot in the ninth for the Angels, who have lost three of four.


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Blacks losing the numbers game

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
1:46
PM PT
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In the spring of 2000, Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane and I sat in his office at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, and the GM asked a direct question: "Do you think I'm a racist?"

The A's were in a difficult position. They had produced players such as Vida Blue, Blue Moon Odom, Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson and Mike Norris and were situated in a city that housed a large African-American community and was historically and culturally famous, among numerous touchstones in the civil rights movement, for the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. But for the first time the A's were in danger of starting the regular season without a single African-American player on the roster.

Beane painfully listed his bona fides: the middle-class, diverse, military upbringing in San Diego; and his friendships with numerous African-American players, both inside and outside of baseball. The notion that he was purposely constructing a roster without black players was both hurtful and offensive.

I told Beane that I did not believe he was a racist, but the end result of the way baseball teams were increasingly being built -- targeting college players over high school prospects when 2 percent of college players are African-American, relying heavily on Latin American players, and reducing the emphasis on the stolen base in a power era -- would yield fewer black players.

Terrence Long ended up making the Athletics' 2000 roster, and an infamous milestone was averted, temporarily. Fourteen years later, as Jackie Robinson Day in baseball is again commemorated with disturbing, declining numbers of black participation, now down to 7.8 percent, the game might very well have reached its on-field nadir. Today, the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals do not employ an African-American player.


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Albert Pujols pounds his 496th home run

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
2:56
AM PT


After pounding his 496th home run, you could feel a little bit of joy for Albert Pujols. Big money or no, the Los Angeles Angels slugger had taken quite a tumble from his days as the game’s best ballplayer. He’s apparently healed up completely from last year’s plantar fasciitis that “resolved” into a partial plantar fascia tear, ending his season two months early and sticking him with the worst numbers of his career: His highest ground-ball rate, his lowest power numbers (both in terms of slugging and Isolated Power). And it’s hard not to envision how a weaker Pujols wasn’t someone who was easier to get to make hit your pitch, contributing to a career-low walk rate and batting average on balls in play.

But that was last year, and his recent run of clouting four home runs in his past six games is a nice reminder of what Pujols can be when he can stand on two feet. And, more importantly, when he can dig in again and really use the lower-body strength that produced one of the best power hitters at any position, let alone first base.

Take a quick look at his heat maps between his injured 2013 and his 2014 season through Monday night’s game, and you’ll see a big difference between the guy who struggled to deliver last season and the guy whose ability to consistently mash stuff inside the zone will put him in Cooperstown, a skill that looks like it’s back in the early going:

Albert PujolsESPN Stats and Information


That’s great to see, because if you look at what Albert Pujols was, you’re seeing the guy the Angels thought they’d signed when they gave him $240 million. Pujols resembled that player in his first season with the Angels, ripping 80 extra base hits. But perhaps the real key to his dominance was Pujols’ complete dominance of pitches inside the strike zone. As Brooks Baseball’s data over at Baseball Prospectus reflects, from 2007-2012, pitchers might have tried to stay low and outside, but he consistently wouldn’t go fishing, offering on just 184 of 1,422 pitches (overwhelmingly the most pitches thrown to any zone against him). More often, that forced pitchers to come into the zone against him, where he’d just as reliably pound them. That 2013/2014 heat map contrast is a nice reminder of the Pujols of old.

That wasn’t the only bit of Phat Albert popping out of the wayback machine lately: He turned a 3-6-3 double play against the A’s on Monday, and whether you grew up thinking a young Eddie Murray or a clean Keith Hernandez was the acme of first-base play, you couldn’t help but love seeing that kind of footwork and anticipation around the bag from the former Gold Glover.

It might be too easy to say last year’s plantar fasciitis belongs to last year, but if Pujols has fended off for a few more years the move to DH that's expected to come at some point during his time as an Angels, so much the better. More importantly, when the Angels gave Pujols his 10-year deal, this is what they expected. Not forever, and not in the field, but they signed Pujols to be the kind of franchise-level bat who can carry them.

Remember, when the Angels signed him, how big Mike Trout was going to be was still a matter of speculation. If Pujols is not just some old indulgence Arte Moreno doesn’t have to apologize to his accountant for, but cranks out several seasons more like his American League initiation in 2012, that’s part of a lineup you can win with. With tough series against the A’s, Tigers, Nationals and Yankees to look forward to, the Halos can’t count on Trout being hot the entire time, lest they dig an early hole that endangers their relevance for months to come.

Most of all, the Angels need Pujols to age gracefully, to put Father Time on hold for another year, maybe four. They need his second act as an Angel of Anaheim to add luster to his Hall of Fame career, not tarnish it. In short, they need Albert Pujols. All it took was a hot streak like this to remind folks that they still have him.


Christina Kahrl writes about MLB for ESPN. You can follow her on Twitter.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Pinch-hitter John Jaso came through with a two-run homer off closer Ernesto Frieri in the ninth inning, sending the Oakland Athletics to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.

Yoenis Cespedes also went deep for the A's, offsetting Albert Pujols' 496th home run.

Frieri (0-1) was trying to preserve Hector Santiago's first victory for his new club when Josh Donaldson led off the ninth with a single. One out later, Jaso batted for Derek Norris and drove a 1-2 pitch deep into the right-field seats for his first homer of the season and the first by an A's pinch-hitter.

Jaso has six homers and 21 RBIs at Angel Stadium along with .424 average, the highest by any player with at least 75 plate appearances at the "Big A."


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Top stats to know: Athletics at Angels

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
12:24
PM PT
The Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels face off in part two of an ESPN doubleheader Monday night (read about part one here). Here are some of the statistical storylines we’ll be tracking from that matchup.

Oakland’s economical pitching
The Athletics are going with a very low-budget starting rotation this season as they’ve spent only $11.3 million on their five starters. Only the Marlins ($3.2 million) have spent less.

Scott Kazmir accounts for $9 million of the starting pitching budget. The next highest paid starter, Jesse Chavez ($775,000), starts Monday night.

Chavez, a 42nd-round pick in 2002, is now pitching for his seventh major league team, and he seems to have found a groove early this season.

In 13 innings pitched, Chavez has posted a 1.38 ERA, 13 strikeouts and only two walks (6.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio). He has done most of the damage with his cutter.

Chavez has thrown his cutter on nearly 37 percent of his pitches, second only to Travis Wood (44 percent, min. 2 starts). Opponents have gone 4-for-24 (.174) against the pitch with eight strikeouts and no extra-base hits in 2014. The Angels have struggled against cutters so far this season, batting .160 against those pitches.

A more aggressive Mike Trout
Mike Trout mentioned this past offseason he wanted to be more aggressive early in the count. While the sample is small, so far he’s staying true to his word.

Trout has increased his swing percentage on the first pitch by 47 percent, which has led to him doubling his chase percentage against the first pitch as well.

Trout hasn’t put many of these balls in play (just 1-for-3), but falling behind early hasn’t been a detriment. Trout is batting .346 this season after falling behind in the count 0-1.

Josh Donaldson’s early slump
Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson has gotten off to a slow start in 2014, hitting .222 through the first dozen games. The biggest difference for Donaldson is in his strikeout and walk totals. He’s struck out 15 times and walked only once this season, after 110 strikeouts and 76 walks in 2013.

An early issue for Donaldson has been the inside pitch. He’s 3-for-22 (.136) against pitches thrown to the inner third of the plate or off the inside corner this season, after hitting .330 against those pitches last season.

Hector Santiago’s fastball a concern
Hector Santiago pitches tonight for the Angels. He has posted a 7.71 ERA in his first two starts, both losses.

Opponents have posted a .346/.485/.577 slash line against Santiago’s fastball this season, which is compounded by Santiago throwing the pitch 74 percent of the time. Against Santiago’s other pitches opponents have hit .250 with a .500 OPS.

Colon weighs in on homer barrage

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
8:20
PM PT

Kelvin Kuo/Associated PressAlbert Pujols rounds the bases after a first-inning homer against Bartolo Colon.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Bartolo Colon was flattened by the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

Colon matched a career high for earned runs allowed with nine in the Mets’ eventual 14-2 loss. The damage inflated his ERA to 6.00.

The barrage included four homers, highlighted by back-to-back-to-back shots in the first inning by Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez.

“At that moment, you’re not thinking, ‘Why is this happening?’ It’s just part of the game,” Colon said through an interpreter afterward.

Colon eventually logged 81 pitches and five innings, trying to spare a heavily used bullpen more work.

The Mets relief corps tossed 13 1/3 innings in the three-game series. The teams played 11 innings on Friday and 13 innings on Saturday.

“He had to give us some innings,” Terry Collins said about Colon. “He knew it.”

Colon uncharacteristically missed with his fastball command Sunday.

“It just wasn’t Bart’s day today,” David Wright said. “And from what I’ve seen from him, these days are few and far between.”

Said Collins: “He was just up in the zone today with all his stuff today. That’s just not him.”

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez hit consecutive home runs off Bartolo Colon in the first inning, setting the tone for the Los Angeles Angels' 14-2 rout of the New York Mets on Sunday in the decisive game of their interleague series.

Hank Conger also went deep against Colon, who won the AL CY Young Award in 2005 with the Angels.

C.J. Wilson (2-1) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts and three walks. The Angels have scored 23 runs in the left-hander's last two starts, including a 9-1 victory last Monday at Houston.

Colon (1-2) gave up nine runs and 11 hits in five innings, allowing at least one hit to every batter in the Angels' starting lineup after pitching seven innings of six-hit ball last Tuesday during a 4-0 victory in Atlanta.


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Rapid Reaction: Angels 14, Mets 2

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
6:42
PM PT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Bartolo Colon surrendered four homers and nine earned runs in five innings and the New York Mets lost Sunday’s rubber game to the Los Angeles Angels, 14-2.

Three of the long balls came consecutively in the first inning, by Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez.

The last time a Mets pitcher allowed three straight homers? That was Johan Santana in the start after his no-hitter, when the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones consecutively went deep in the Bronx on June 8, 2012.

Hank Conger capped Sunday’s long-ball barrage with a two-run homer in the fifth. It marked the eighth extra-base hit against Colon, a career high.

Colon had tossed seven scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday to begin the trip.

Colon’s nine runs allowed were only one shy of matching his career high -- 10 runs (five earned) on April 26, 2005 as a member of the Angels. That day, the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez homered three times against Colon en route to a 10-RBI game.

The Angels added two runs in the sixth against Scott Rice, who issued a bases-loaded walk and run-scoring wild pitch. John Lannan uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch and surrendered a two-run homer to Ian Stewart in the eighth.

With the five-homer game by the Angels, Mets pitchers have now surrendered an MLB-high 21 homers, in 12 games.

Yer out: David Wright and Daniel Murphy were ejected in the seventh inning by plate umpire Toby Basner for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. A scout at the game was highly critical of Basner’s strike zone low. It was Wright’s fourth career ejection.

What’s next: The Mets head to Phoenix for the final stop on their three-city trip -- a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Zack Wheeler (0-2, 5.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Josh Collmenter (0-0, 2.25) in Monday’s 9:40 p.m. ET opener.

Sunday's Mets-Angels lineups

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
12:13
PM PT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Here are the lineups as the Mets face the Los Angeles Angels at 3:35 p.m. ET Sunday in the rubber game of the series.

Mets
Eric Young Jr., lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Josh Satin, 1b
Curtis Granderson, rf
Andrew Brown, dh
Juan Lagares, cf
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Ruben Tejada, ss

Bartolo Colon, rhp

Angels
J.B. Shuck, lf
Mike Trout, cf
Albert Pujols, dh
Raul Ibanez, 1b
Kole Calhoun, rf
Howie Kendrick, 2b
Ian Stewart, 3b
Hank Conger, c
Erick Aybar, ss

C.J. Wilson, lhp

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Anthony Recker led off the 13th inning with a home run against rookie Matt Shoemaker and also had a two-run single, leading the New York Mets to a 7-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

The Mets evened up their interleague series at a game apiece, but it wasn't easy. New closer Jose Valverde came on in the ninth to protect a 6-3 lead for Jonathon Niese, but allowed a three-run homer to 41-year-old Raul Ibanez on a 1-0 pitch after David Freese singled with two outs and Erick Aybar walked. The homer was Ibanez's 302nd in the majors -- and his 2,000th hit.

Shoemaker (0-1), the eighth Angels pitcher, escaped his own bases-loaded jam in the 12th by striking out Juan Lagares. But Recker drove the right-hander's second pitch of the 13th into the left field bullpen for his first homer of the season.

John Lannan (1-0) pitched two perfect innings for the victory.


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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Mike Trout
BA HR RBI R
.338 5 13 14
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Trout 5
RBIM. Trout 13
RM. Trout 14
OPSM. Trout 1.076
WC. Wilson 2
ERAG. Richards 2.84
SOC. Wilson 24