Mike Trout had some early Christmas presents for Angels fans Friday.
Not only did he hit his 53rd career home run against the Seattle Mariners — which traveled 422 feet and over the center-field hedges at Angel Stadium — he also got extra-base hits Nos. 99 and 100 against the Angels’ American League West rivals.
Trout’s solo home run in the fourth inning and RBI triple in the sixth further cemented his status as the Mariners’ biggest nemesis and as one of the best hitters in baseball history.
“That’s just Trout. You know how good he is,” interim manager Phil Nevin said.
He owns the career records for the most home runs and the most extra-base hits and is tied — with George Brett — for the most triples against the Mariners. Rafael Palmeiro previously held two of those records with 52 homers and 98 extra-base hits.
“Tonight’s the best I’ve felt over the last week,” said Trout, who has hit six home runs against the Mariners this season. “If you can put a swing on a ball and bear it up, it means you’re in a good spot.”
His triple seemed to defy the laws of physics. Trout said after the game that it looked as if the line drive was headed right at Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez, but it picked up steam, seemed to change direction and went over his head.
Trout and Nevin said they had never seen a ball do that before, hypothesizing it was because Mariners starter Chris Flexen threw a knuckleball.
“I don’t know if there’s a center fielder that makes that play,” Nevin said.
The hits were enough for Mariners manager Scott Servais to doubt his reliever, Andrés Muñoz, who faced Trout in the eighth inning with Shohei Ohtani on deck. Muñoz gave Trout his 112th career intentional walk, tying Vladimir Guerrero Sr.’s record for most intentional walks in Angels history, and opted to face Ohtani, who had a career-best eight RBIs in Tuesday night’s loss. Ohtani ended up striking out.
“It’s just passing the baton,” Trout said. “Ohtani’s been hot. Just came up short.”
Ohtani tried to capitalize on the momentum of both of Trout’s big hits. After watching Trout homer, Ohtani singled to right field but was stranded. He grounded out in the sixth but drove in Trout from third base on the fielder’s choice to make it 4-3.
The Angels tried to get their offense going in the seventh. Matt Duffy and Luis Rengifo singled to put runners at first and second with one out. Nevin summoned David MacKinnon — who got his first major league hit and drove in two runs Wednesday — to pinch-hit for Tyler Wade. But MacKinnon grounded into a double play.
Angels call up Monte Harrison
The Angels made a bit of a change with who is available for them off the bench.
On Friday, the team called up outfielder Monte Harrison, who signed a minor league deal in free agency with the Angels on April 4. In a corresponding move, the Angels designated Juan Lagares for assignment.
Nevin said Harrison would fill into the same role as Lagares, who was getting reps across the outfield and coming in off the bench in the 20 games he played with the big league club.
With the triple-A Salt Lake Bees this year, Harrison hit .213 with a .305 on-base-percentage.
“Always admired the way he plays the game across the field,” Nevin said of Harrison before Friday’s series opener with the Mariners. “This guy brings a lot of electricity, plays with a little flair, a little edge, which I like.
“He’s an exciting player, was a big-time prospect years ago,” Nevin continued. “He’s definitely got a lot of time under his belt. … So we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
Those big-time prospect years Nevin referred to include Harrison’s rise to becoming the Miami Marlins’ No. 2 prospect in 2019 and being asked to play in that season’s Futures Game. He did not end up participating because of a right wrist injury.
Harrison last played in the majors in 2021 for the Marlins, twice getting called up from their alternate training site. He appeared in nine games that season, mostly making appearances off the bench.
He got his first call-up to the big leagues during the COVID-shortened 2020 season after 18 Marlins players tested positive for the virus. Harrison was also part of that scrappy Marlins group that got the team to its first postseason berth in 17 years.
“It’s been a while,” Harrison said of being called up Friday. “It’s definitely been a blessing. A lot of hard work, a lot of staying down and just being myself. Rough situation. But at the end of the day, I’m blessed to be where I’m at.
“I think it’s gonna be just normal baseball and I just come up here and do what I do, and help this team win, hopefully, at the end of the day.”
Harrison, who is from Lee’s Summit, Mo., was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft, No. 50 overall, by the Milwaukee Brewers.