Trout homers in return to leadoff spot as Angels end skid

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Los Angeles Angels manager Ron Washington was hoping to get a spark by putting Mike Trout in the leadoff spot Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles.

The three-time American League 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 in the Angels' 7-4 victory over the Orioles.

"Mike set the tone right away and we didn't look back," Angels pitcher Griffin Canning said.

It was the sixth leadoff homer of Trout's career and first since Sept. 28, 2012, against Texas.

Coincidentally, Washington was the Rangers' manager when Trout took Ryan Dempster deep in that game.

"I didn't know that until I was told coming in here [the postgame interview room]," said Washington, who is in his first season with the Angels. "So that was a big move I made tonight. The credit goes to Mike, it doesn't go to me."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 11 years and 208 days is the second-longest span between consecutive leadoff homers in MLB history. The longest is 12 years, 286 days by Omar Vizquel.

Trout's nine home runs this season is tied with Atlanta's Marcell Ozuna for the major league lead. He went 1-for-4 as the Angels snapped a five-game losing streak.

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.

"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.

Washington is also hoping that moving Trout up will help put him back on track.

Trout hit .290 (18-for-62) with seven home runs in his first 16 games, but has struggled at the plate over the past eight games. He has gone 4-for-31 with 10 strikeouts since April 16, including getting caught looking for the final out with the bases loaded in Monday night's 4-2 loss to the Orioles.

Trout's .237 batting average is 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.

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

He had batted first in only five games since 2014.

"He's done it before, so it's not foreign to him," Washington said. "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."

Trout is a career .321 hitter when in the leadoff spot with 34 home runs and a .397 on-base percentage.