DETROIT (AP) — This was a rare sight: Mike Trout looking overmatched at the plate.
Trout struck out four times Saturday, and the Los Angeles Angels lost 5-2 to Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers. It was the first time in Trout’s career he fanned more than three times in a game, and not even Albert Pujols’ 498th home run could lift Los Angeles to another win over the Tigers.
“Some days you’ve just got to tip your cap. (Scherzer) made a few good pitches,” Trout said. “He’s got good life on his fastball. The ball, in the middle, kind of rises up from that kind of sidearm motion.”
Trout struck out three times against Scherzer and then was caught looking against Joe Nathan in the ninth. Scherzer struck out nine in seven innings. Detroit had lost 10 straight to the Angels and hadn’t beaten them since Aug. 26, 2012.
Nick Castellanos and Victor Martinez homered for the Tigers.
Scherzer (1-1) allowed a run and three hits with two walks. Joba Chamberlain struck out two in the eighth for the Tigers, and Nathan finished.
C.J. Wilson (2-2) gave up three earned runs in five innings, throwing 111 pitches.
“He threw a lot of pitches through five. Part of it was their patience and part of it was his not having control,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think he got hurt with bad pitches, the cutter to Castellanos and the fastball to Martinez.”
J.B. Shuck led off the game with a homer, but that was all the scoring for the Angels until Pujols homered for the second straight day, hitting his sixth shot of the season in the ninth.
The Angels had 10 extra-base hits in an 11-6 win over the Tigers on Friday night, and Shuck snapped his 0-for-14 slide with a drive to right to start the first inning Saturday.
But in a sign of things to come, Scherzer struck out Trout, Pujols and Raul Ibanez immediately after allowing the homer. He would end up pitching deep into the game at a time when the Tigers’ bullpen needed a bit of a breather.
“I can’t say enough about how important that start was — not only for us as a team, but just for the bullpen,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “We had a bunch of guys out there who really could use a day off.”
Wilson made it through a shaky first inning, but Castellanos hit a two-run homer in the second to put the Tigers ahead to stay.
Detroit added an unearned run in the third. Miguel Cabrera reached on an error by right fielder Brennan Boesch and went to second on a wild pitch. Cabrera was then called out at third when Trout — his foil from the last two American League MVP races — made a nice throw from center. The Tigers challenged the call, however, and Cabrera was ruled safe.
Cabrera scored on a sacrifice fly by Austin Jackson to make it 3-1.
The Tigers thought they’d escaped a jam in the fourth when Ian Stewart was called out trying to steal second, but the Angels challenged and the call was overturned. With runners on second and third, Scherzer struck out Erick Aybar for the third out.
Martinez added a solo homer in the fifth, and Ian Kinsler’s sacrifice fly in the eighth made it 5-1.
Scherzer, meanwhile, looked every bit his Cy Young self. Trout, Pujols and Ibanez — the second, third and fourth hitters in the Los Angeles lineup — went 0 for 8 with seven strikeouts and a walk against the Detroit starter.
NOTES: The Angels have outscored opponents 19-5 in the first inning this year. … Los Angeles entered the game with a major league-high 27 homers and an AL-worst 20 homers allowed — then added to both those totals. … Detroit RHP Rick Porcello (1-1) faces Angels LHP Hector Santiago (0-2) on Sunday.