Trout homers, Sandoval spins gem as Angels top Guardians 4-1

Apr 26, 2022, 9:41 AM | Updated: 10:44 pm
Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout, left, slides before being tagged out at home by Cleveland Guardians...

Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout, left, slides before being tagged out at home by Cleveland Guardians catcher Austin Hedges while trying to score on a double by Jared Walsh during the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

              Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout, left, slides before being tagged out at home by Cleveland Guardians catcher Austin Hedges while trying to score on a double by Jared Walsh during the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias gestures after the Angels defeated the Cleveland Guardians in a baseball game Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout, left, slides before being tagged out at home by Cleveland Guardians catcher Austin Hedges while trying to score on a double by Jared Walsh during the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias gestures after the Angels defeated the Cleveland Guardians in a baseball game Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani, right, grimaces after fouling a ball off his foot as Cleveland Guardians catcher Austin Hedges watches during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval throws to the plate during the second inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout, right, hits a two-run home run as Cleveland Guardians catcher Austin Hedges watches during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno, right, talks with Angels manager Joe Maddon prior to a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A locked-in Mike Trout and effective starting pitching is a difficult duo for any opponent to overcome when facing the Los Angeles Angels.

Both are also huge reasons why the Halos have won three straight and are off to their best start since 2017.

Trout homered and drove in three runs, and Patrick Sandoval pitched seven innings of two-hit ball as the surging Angels defeated the Cleveland Guardians 4-1 Tuesday night.

Trout drove a slider from Triston McKenzie (0-2) into the bullpens in left field for a two-run shot in the third inning to give the Angels a 3-0 lead. He was inches from a second home run in the fifth, but the ball hit the wall in the left-field corner for an RBI double to score Shohei Ohtani.

“Michael looks really good at the plate. That’s an understatement,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said.

Trout is 14 for 34 (.412) during a nine-game hitting streak. The three-time AL MVP missed most of last season due to a calf injury — which coincidentally occurred against Cleveland — but wasn’t lacking in confidence that he could return at a high level.

“I’m just very confident. That’s up to you guys if I am at peak level, but I feel good up there and obviously healthy,” said Trout, who is batting .347 through the first three weeks of the season with five home runs and eight RBIs.

Sandoval — who struck out nine — has not allowed an earned run in three starts this season. The left-hander retired his first six batters before Ernie Clement walked leading off the third and Myles Straw singled with two outs. Sandoval (1-0) then set down 12 straight before Owen Miller lined a single to center with two outs in the seventh.

What pleased Sandoval the most, though, was that he issued only one free pass after walking five in his first two starts. He also threw 59 of his 90 pitches for strikes, after entering the game with a 57.7% strike rate.

“It was definitely better than the last two starts. There’s still room to improve for sure, but it’s a good step in the right direction,” said Sandoval, who went at least seven innings for the fourth time in 32 career starts. “Limiting walks is definitely the biggest thing for me because I want to go deeper into games.”

The win improved the Angels’ record to 11-7. It is only the third time since 2009 they have been over .500 after 18 games. The last time was 2018 when they got off to a 13-5 start.

The Guardians have dropped all five games on their road trip but averted a second consecutive shutout in Anaheim when Straw began the ninth inning with a base hit and scored on José Ramírez’s one-out double off Jimmy Herget.

Raisel Iglesias came in after Ramírez’s extra-base hit and struck out Franmil Reyes and Miller for his fourth save.

McKenzie allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six. The right-hander retired the first four Angels batters before Anthony Rendon hit a one-out double in the second and scored on Brandon Marsh’s base hit up the middle.

“He threw a ton of strikes,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said of McKenzie. “He started the game off 18 of 19 (pitches for strikes). That’s maybe too many to start if you want to be too picky. When he made a mistake it was right over the middle of the plate and it ended up hurting him.”

WEB GEMS

Besides hitting two doubles, Rendon made a nice defensive play in the fifth inning. The third baseman made a diving stop on a sharp grounder hit by Clement and made the throw in time to get him at first.

Cleveland had a pair of great defensive plays. Right fielder Oscar Mercado made a diving play on a sinking line drive by Andrew Velazquez in the seventh inning, and shortstop Amed Rosario made a nice throw from shallow center that Austin Hedges fielded to get Trout out at home. Rosario took the relay throw after Straw chased down Jared Walsh’s double at the center-field wall.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Guardians OF Steven Kwan was out of the lineup for the second straight game due to right hamstring tightness.

UP NEXT

Guardians: RHP Zach Plesac (1-1, 1.53) is second in the AL in ERA through three starts. He is 2-0 in his career against the Angels, including a shutout in 2019.

Angels: Ohtani (1-2, 4.40 ERA) carried a perfect game through 5 1/3 innings in his last start at Houston before giving up a single to Jason Castro. He also matched a career high with 12 strikeouts. Ohtani’s only previous start against Cleveland was last season, when he allowed two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings for a no-decision.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, right, drives to the rim as Atlanta Hawks forward Onyeka Okongw...
Associated Press

Nuggets beat Hawks 128-108, tie Boston for NBA’s best record

DENVER (AP) — Jamal Murray scored a season-high 41 points, Nikola Jokic had his 18th triple-double of the season and the Denver Nuggets won their third straight game, beating the Atlanta Hawks 128-108 on Saturday night. Jokic finished with 14 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists and recorded the 94th regular-season triple-double of his career. […]
1 day ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie (26) drives to the basket against Golden State Warriors gu...
Associated Press

Curry injures left leg leading Warriors over Mavs 119-113

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Curry went down and the Golden Warriors once again had to fight like crazy to close out a game. Curry had 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds before injuring his left leg defending a drive late in the third quarter, and the defending NBA champions defeated Dallas 119-113 on […]
1 day ago
Fedor Emelianenko, rights, listens to interpreter Georgiy Litvinov during an interview in Los Angel...
Associated Press

Fedor Emelianenko loses to Bader in Russian star’s last bout

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Fedor Emelianenko placed his gloves on the canvas and then cracked a warm smile while nearly a dozen mixed martial arts greats behind him led the crowd in one last ovation. Although the Last Emperor says his career is over, his fans and fellow fighters won’t forget his greatness any time […]
1 day ago
Miami Heat's Dewayne Dedmon (21) looks to shoot against Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo duri...
Associated Press

Antetokounmpo has triple-double; Bucks win 7th straight

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had a triple-double with 35 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the short-handed Miami Heat 123-115 on Saturday night for their seventh straight victory. “You kind of know what to expect from the Miami team,” Antetokounmpo said. “We’ve played them so many times. I’ve played […]
1 day ago
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots in front of Houston Rockets forward ...
Associated Press

Gilgeous-Alexander scores 42 as Thunder blow out Rockets

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder took what coach Mark Daigneault called a “bloodthirsty mentality” into Saturday’s rematch with the Houston Rockets. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 42 points to help the Thunder blow out Houston 153-121. They were disappointed in losing at Houston on Wednesday and responded by setting an Oklahoma City record for […]
1 day ago
Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, left, disputes a penalty called against him during the first half ...
Associated Press

Zach LaVine scores 36 as Bulls beat Trail Blazers 129-121

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls tried all sorts of defensive coverages on Damian Lillard. He kept scoring anyway. Just not enough to hold down Zach LaVine and company. LaVine scored 36 points, DeMar DeRozan had 27 and the Bulls topped Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers 129-121 on Saturday night. Nikola Vucevic added 23 […]
1 day ago
Trout homers, Sandoval spins gem as Angels top Guardians 4-1