December 5, 2022

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Everything's bigger in Texas, including this Trout HR

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Slugger's 1st-inning homer the longest of 2022 thus far
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ARLINGTON — Angels superstar Mike Trout is apparently feeling just fine.

Trout missed Monday’s game with flu-like symptoms, but Thursday, he clobbered a solo homer off Rangers right-hander Dane Dunning in the first inning of an eventual 10-5 loss. It went a projected 472 feet to dead center, marking the longest-hit homer in the Majors so far this season.

“Wow,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I just hope I hit my driver like that, I told him afterward. I mean, seriously, if that was a golf ball, I’d be really happy. That went out quickly and loudly. It was so hot off the bat, absolutely.”

It also tied the Globe Life Field record for the longest blast in the yard’s brief history, as it matched a 472-foot homer by Oakland’s Seth Brown on July 10, 2021. But it wasn’t the longest homer of Trout’s illustrious career: that would be the 486-foot shot he hit off A’s lefty Brett Anderson on Sept. 5, 2019. He also hit one 477 feet against Rockies lefty Chris Rusin on July 8, 2015, and one 473 feet against Royals right-hander Jakob Junis on May 18, 2019.

Trout has hit five home runs more than 470 feet since Statcast was introduced in 2015, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton, who has hit nine that far. Trout’s homer came on a 90.9 mph fastball with a 3-1 count and left the bat at 112.9 mph, per Statcast. It was his 41st career homer against Texas, which ranks second all time since the club moved to Arlington, behind only Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson’s 43 career blasts against the Rangers in that span.

It was the second homer of the year for Trout, who was limited to just 36 games last year because of a right calf strain sustained on May 17. But Trout, a three-time American League MVP, said he’s fully healthy this season and changed his workout and training routine in an effort to keep his lower half healthy. His production at the plate has been there this season despite a .211 average, as he has a .375 on-base percentage and .579 slugging percentage.

His homer also helped the Angels get out to an early lead against Dunning, as the Halos scored two runs in the first, but were then held scoreless until the eighth inning, while two-way star Shohei Ohtani had a rare rough outing on the mound.

“We started out so well,” Maddon said. “It was so fun to watch the beginning of the game. And with [Ohtani] pitching, you feel pretty good about it. But it just slipped away.”

Ohtani was hurt by a grand slam from Rangers catcher Jonah Heim in the second inning that came on an 0-2 splitter. In addition to it being the first hit Ohtani had ever allowed on an 0-2 splitter, it was also the first homer he had ever allowed on a splitter in any count and the first grand slam he had ever given up in his five-year career.

“I thought I threw a couple good splitters and non-good splitters,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “Obviously, the one I gave up just hung up there.”

Ohtani settled down in the third inning, but he was removed after striking out Marcus Semien for the second out of the fourth after allowing a leadoff double to Willie Calhoun and an RBI single to Heim. Lefty Brian Moran came in to replace Ohtani after he had thrown 70 pitches and the southpaw promptly served up a two-run homer to Corey Seager with Ohtani getting charged with one of those runs.  

Ohtani finished having allowed six runs on six hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings with five strikeouts to fall to 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA.

Ohtani said he needs to improve his mechanics on the mound before his next start, which is expected to come in Houston on Wednesday.

“I feel like as long as I have my mechanics, the splitter should be doing its thing,” Ohtani said. “I don’t think it’s just the splitter. It’s just my mechanics, in general.”

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