ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels got their first look this season at the National League’s version of Mike Trout – Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins. And they walked away thankful he isn’t in the American League.
Stanton upstaged Trout with a three-run homer in the first regular-season showdown between two of baseball’s brightest young stars, helping to hand the Angels a 7-1 loss Monday night.
“We saw him a couple of years ago, but there is no doubt that he’s mega-talented. And a lot of the stuff that he does reminds you of a lot of different people – anywhere from Vlad Guerrero to Mike Trout,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “He does a lot of good things well on the field, and you can see why he’s such a terrific ballplayer.”
The Angels slipped back into a tie for the AL West lead with Oakland, which won 8-2 in Houston.
Stanton and Trout entered the final interleague series of the season for both clubs leading their respective leagues in extra-base hits and total bases. Stanton also tops the NL in homers, RBIs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Trout, runner-up in AL MVP voting each of the past two seasons, was this year’s All-Star game MVP.
“I don’t know if anyone expected Stanton to be doing what he’s doing. But with Trout, everyone expects that – and he’s living up to his billing,” Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart said. “I think going into the season, maybe people underestimated Stanton a little bit. But no one in this locker room did. I mean, if that’s not an MVP, I don’t know what is.
“You ask any pitcher in the league, and they’ll tell you they don’t like facing the guy. So the publicity will come for him. Hopefully he gets a chance to play in the playoffs and let the whole world see what he can do,” Cosart added.
The Marlins opened the scoring with a three-run third and made it 7-0 in the fourth with Stanton’s 33rd homer, a line drive to left-center off Cory Rasmus that increased his RBI total to 97. It was the 150th career homer for the two-time All-Star right fielder.
“The first time through the order was pretty smooth, but they did a good job making adjustments – and obviously I didn’t,” losing pitcher Wade LeBlanc said. “I knew the adjustments I needed to make, and I just didn’t execute them. That’s a good hitting ballclub over there, and they’re pretty hot right now.”
Christian Yelich, a native of Thousand Oaks, California, and a product of the baseball camp run by Scioscia in Simi Valley, was 3 for 5 with a pair of RBI singles and a double.
“I think I was 8 or 9 when I want to his camp, so it’s been a while. There were a lot of kids at those things, so I didn’t think he would have any idea,” Yelich said. “It was kind of weird today, stepping in the box and looking in the other dugout, and he was sitting right there. I just remember him giving speeches and stuff. It ended up paying off.”
Cosart (2-1) allowed a run and seven hits over 7 2-3 innings. He struck out four in his fourth outing since he was acquired from Houston at the July 31 trade deadline. The right-hander, who was 9-7 with the Astros, lost his shutout bid in the eighth on an RBI double by Kole Calhoun.
“His ball was moving all over the place,” Angels left fielder Collin Cowgill said. “He was throwing 96 mph cutters out there, just kind of keeping us off balance. Every time we seemed like we went to attack it, it kind of ran off our bat a little bit or tied us up a little bit inside. So he was on his game.”
LeBlanc (0-1) was charged with six runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings as a replacement for Garrett Richards, out for the season because of a torn patellar tendon in his left knee that occurred last Wednesday in Boston. This was LeBlanc’s first big league start since May 6, 2013, when he lost at San Diego while pitching for the Marlins.
Angels: Scioscia said LHP Joe Thatcher is throwing off a mound, but is not quite ready for a minor league rehab assignment and probably won’t be activated from the disabled list on Sept. 1 when rosters expand. He hasn’t pitched since Aug. 2 because of a sprained left ankle.
Marlins: Nathan Eovaldi (6-8, 4.06 ERA) is 1-5 with a 4.91 ERA in his last 10 starts. All three of his victories since May 26 have come on the road.
Angels: Matt Shoemaker (12-4, 3.56 ERA) looks to win his fourth straight start after taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his 2-0 triumph last Thursday in Boston. He is two wins from tying the franchise rookie record, shared by Dean Chance (1962), Marcelino Lopez (1965) and Frank Tanana (1974).