Mike Trout Homers Twice, Leads 7-4 Comeback Win Over Marlins

Mike Trout

Photo by JC Ruiz

Miami, FL– It is April 1st but the Miami Marlins were not fooling Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels after losing 7-4 to kick off a three-game series. The Marlins offense erupted in the opening frame backing Max Meyer after pitching five strong innings. This was his first MLB start since July 23, 2022. However, a familiar storyline from this season unfolded as Miami’s bullpen collapsed giving up five runs in four innings. After going 0-5 to start the 2024 campaign, this is the worst start to a season in Miami/Florida Marlins history.

A Hot Start, But Cold Finish

The Marlins welcomed the Angels and their starter, Chase Silseth, to Miami by batting around the lineup and putting up four runs in the opening frame. Luis Arraez led off the bottom of the first with a walk and advanced to second after Josh Bell reached base on a catcher’s interference call.

Jake Burger continued his hot start to 2024 with an RBI single to right field bringing in Arraez for Miami’s first run. Jazz Chisholm Jr. followed up his four-RBI performance in yesterday’s loss to the Pirates with an RBI single to right field to bring in Bell. After Silseth struck out Bryan De La Cruz, he got Jesus Sanchez to ground into a fielder’s choice but reached base safely to load the bases.

Tim Anderson was called out on strikes for the second out and Nick Gordon looked to add to Miami’s lead. Gordon capped off the inning with a much-needed base hit with runners in scoring position. Gordon doubled to right-center field bringing in two more runs. Miami was leading 4-0 and had the Angels on the ropes. Miami had eight more innings to tack onto their lead but only recorded six hits without any runs in that span. This game was unraveling into a familiar story for the Marlins that does not have a happy ending.

Mike Trout Welcomes Max Meyer to the Bigs

As mentioned earlier, Meyer was making his first MLB start since the middle of the 2022 season. After his five-inning performance, he was in line for his first MLB victory leaving the game with a 4-2 lead. His outing was off to a great start recording a 1-2-3 inning in the first. This included striking out Nolan Schanuel and Mike Trout.

After Miami scored four runs in the first, the Angels responded with a run in the top of the second. With one out and Taylor Ward on third base, Aaron Hicks drove him in with an RBI groundout. Meyer rebounded in the third with another 1-2-3 inning but now had to face the Angels lineup the second time around.

In the top of the fourth, Meyer got Schanuel to ground out for the first out of the frame. Up next was Mike Trout and he showed the 25-year-old right-hander why he is going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Mike Trout launched a 3-2 changeup over the left field wall for his second home run of the 2024 season.

Trout cut the Angels’ deficit in half with one swing, but Meyer did not regret throwing his changeup. The third pitch in his pitching arsenal.

“I’m throwing a 3-2 changeup to Mike Trout, trying to get him out,” said Meyer. “So I’m so happy that I even have the confidence in it. I would have never said that a couple of years ago. Obviously, there’s a place and time for it, but I feel great about it.”

After Trout’s home run, Meyer retired the next two batters to finish the inning and was back out for the fifth. In what was most likely his last inning Meyer showed a lot of guts and poise. With one out in the top of the fifth Meyer issued back-to-back walks. Zach Neto reached on a fielder’s choice but Miami secured the second out.

Meyer escaped the two out, runners on first and third jam by getting Anthony Rendon to fly out. His night on the mound was over but Meyer positioned Miami to win this game leaving with a 4-2 lead. However, Miami’s bullpen had other plans.

Miss Opportunities

While the Angels were chipping away at Miami’s lead, the Marlins were letting scoring opportunities slip away. From the second to the sixth inning, Miami led the second inning off with a runner or had a runner on with less than two outs and did not capitalize. In the bottom of the second, Miami stranded Arraez on first base after drawing a leadoff walk. Bell, Burger, and Chisholm Jr., the heart of Miami’s lineup, were retired in order.

With one out in the bottom of the third, Sanchez and Anderson reached base with back-to-back singles. Gordon failed to move the runners over and had an unproductive at-bat striking out. Christian Bethancourt ended the rally with a flyout to centerfield.

Frustration was mounting up in the bottom of the fourth after another golden opportunity to score fell short. Arraez and Bell led off the inning with back-to-back singles. However, Burger followed up by grounding into a 5-4-3 double play, and Chisholm Jr. flew out to end the inning.

Holding onto a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth, De La Cruz led off the inning with a double. With a man in scoring position and no outs, the next three hitters failed to bring De La Cruz in. Sanchez struck out and Anderson and Gordon grounded out.

Now tied 4-4 after the Angels tied up the game in the top of the sixth, the Marlins had a chance to retake the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Miami led off the inning with back-to-back walks by Bethancourt and Arraez. More unproductive at-bats followed up as Miami’s lineup was having trouble all game moving runners over. Bell struck out swinging and Burger once again was the victim of the double play for the second time this game grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.

For the first time all game, the Angels pitching staff recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh inning. After Los Angeles took a 5-4 lead in the top of the eighth, they held off the Marlins in the bottom half with another 1-2-3 inning.

Miami’s rally fell short in the bottom of the ninth trailing 7-4 after grounding into their third double play of the game. The Marlins’ offense fell flat in the late innings but they had their chances earlier on to avoid a loss. The offense failed to manufacture runs after a hot start, but Miami’s lineup isn’t the only part of the team that did not do its part in securing the win.

Here We Go Again

The Marlins’ bullpen looked to bounce back after a rough previous series against the Pirates. In two out of the four games against Pittsburgh, Miami’s bullpen coughed up the lead. In that four-game span, the bullpen was put to work pitching 23 combined innings while starting pitchers recorded only 16.

After Meyer’s five-inning start, the first arm out of Miami’s bullpen was George Soriano. He was tasked to face the middle of the Angels lineup. Nolan Schanuel led off the inning with a home run to cut Miami’s lead to 4-3. The following batter was Mike Trout and just like that the Marlins’ lead disappeared. Trout blasted a 473-foot solo home run to left-center field to tie the game at 4-4. Soriano settled down and retired the next three batters but the damage was done.

Andrew Nardi pitched a scoreless seventh inning and the game was handed off to Tanner Scott to pitch the eighth. Scott’s outing got off to a shaky start walking the first three batters he faced to load the bases. After a mound visit, Scott got Taylor Ward to ground out but the Angels did take a 5-4 lead on the RBI. Scott limited the damage to just that one run after getting Brandon Drury and Aaron Hicks to ground out.

The Angels added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth off of Anthony Bender and Burch Smith. Bender recorded only two outs in the inning and surrendered both runs. With one run already in, Smith inherited Bender’s runners on first and third. He balked allowing the Angels to score their second run of that inning.

Out of the seven runs scored by the Angels, two of them were by RBI groundouts and another by a balk. That was the main difference on offense between both teams. One team was able to manufacture runs with productive outs and put pressure on with runners in scoring position and the other team simply didn’t.

Miami’s pitching rotation flips back over tomorrow with their ace, Jesus Luzardo, on the mound. The Marlins look to even up the series tomorrow and finally capture that elusive first win of the 2024 season. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m.

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