ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mike Trout homered in his third straight game and Alex Meyer pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning of the Los Angeles Angels’ 4-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
Danny Espinosa hit a tiebreaking homer off Justin Verlander, helping the Angels to just their fourth win in 12 games.
Andrelton Simmons added an RBI single to chase Verlander (3-3) in the seventh as the Angels split four games with the Tigers, who haven’t won a series in Anaheim in eight tries since 2009.
Verlander yielded five hits and walked five while pitching into the seventh inning of his first loss in four starts. With seven strikeouts, Verlander passed Tommy John and pulled even with Eddie Plank for 53rd place in baseball history with 2,246 career strikeouts.
With a first-inning shot to left for his 11th homer, Trout homered in three straight games for the third time in his career, also accomplishing the feat in September 2013 and June 2016. The two-time AL MVP also stole two bases, joining Alex Rodriguez as the only players to get 175 homers and 150 steals before their age-26 season.
Trout reached base three times before driving in another run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Meyer (2-1) is attempting to secure his spot in Los Angeles’ rotation after two stints in Triple-A this season. The 6-foot-9 right-hander’s fourth start of the season was the longest and best of his big league career — and resulted in his third career win.
After giving up two hits and his only run in his first five pitches, Meyer limited the Tigers to two walks and recorded a career-high seven strikeouts before Victor Martinez chased him with a one-out double in the seventh.
Bud Norris pitched the ninth for his seventh save in nine chances.
Albert Pujols got the day off for the Angels. C.J. Cron returned from the disabled list and went 0 for 4 while playing first base.
Ian Kinsler doubled and scored on Nicholas Castellanos’ single to put the Tigers up early.
Espinosa was mired in a 3-for-57 slump before cranking a 433-foot shot to right in the fourth. The power-hitting second baseman hadn’t homered since April 13, and the hit was just his second since April 26.
Cameron Maybin stole second base three times for the Angels, matching his career high in steals.
Angels: 3B Yunel Escobar had an MRI exam on his hamstring and was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain, sending him to the disabled list and likely sidelining him for two to four weeks. Luis Valbuena replaced him at third. … Trout was the Angels’ designated hitter, but not because he has any limitations on his recently injured hamstring, manager Mike Scioscia said.
Tigers: Matthew Boyd (2-3, 3.89 ERA) makes his eighth start of the year when Detroit returns home to face Baltimore. Boyd has never faced the Orioles or beaten an AL East team.
Angels: Jesse Chavez (2-5, 4.29 ERA) takes the mound when the Chicago White Sox visit Anaheim to open a three-game set. Los Angeles’ preseason fifth starter isn’t getting great results, but is eating up innings for an injury-plagued staff.