ANAHEIM, Calif. — Tommy La Stella is providing an unexpected power boost for the Los Angeles Angels during their interleague series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The second baseman homered twice and drove in four runs to lead the Angels to an 11-8 victory Tuesday night after Mike Trout exited with a groin injury.
La Stella, who had only one other multihomer game, has gone deep in consecutive games for the first time in his career. It’s just the second time in La Stella’s six major league seasons that he’s had three or more homers in a year.
“It feels nice. It reminds me of Little League a little bit. It’s a good feeling any time you get into a ball like that,” he said.
Andrelton Simmons had three hits as Los Angeles extended its win streak to five games. Jonathan Lucroy added two hits and three RBIs against his first major league team.
Trout left in the fourth inning after he strained his right groin while running to second base in the second. The Angels said their $426.5 million centre fielder is day-to-day.
La Stella’s three-run homer off Freddy Peralta in the first inning gave the Angels a 6-0 lead. The Brewers drew within a run in the fourth before La Stella led off the bottom half with a drive to centre. The 412-foot shot was the longest of his career.
“I caught them right and on the barrel pretty well,” La Stella said. “I’ve been freeing up my hands at the plate and not muscling the swing. That allows the power to generate itself.”
Angels manager Brad Ausmus said La Stella got off to a slow start but has turned the corner in this series.
“I don’t know if I would have pegged him for the second-most home runs at this point in the season but I’m glad he had two tonight because they were important,” Ausmus said.
Los Angeles went ahead to stay when Alex Wilson walked Lucroy with the bases loaded in the seventh. Simmons doubled home a run in the eighth, and Albert Pujols tacked on a sacrifice fly.
Cam Bedrosian (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win and Cody Allen got three outs for his third save. Alex Claudio (0-1), who walked Lucroy to start the seventh, took the loss.
Yasmani Grandal homered twice and drove in three runs for Milwaukee. Lorenzo Cain and Ben Gamel each had two hits, and Mike Moustakas went deep for the second straight night.
Moustakas and Grandal hit consecutive homers in the fifth to give the Brewers an 8-7 lead.
“We made a great comeback and gave ourselves a chance for a couple innings. A couple leadoff walks hurt us tonight,” manager Craig Counsell said. “They did a good job of putting some pressure on us.”
Peralta, who threw eight shutout innings and struck out a career-high 11 in his last start, had one of the poorest outings of his career. The right-hander allowed a career-high eight hits and tied a career worst by giving up seven runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Matt Harvey struggled in his second consecutive home outing. The right-hander allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings. He has a 15.13 ERA at Angels Stadium.
Plate umpire Tom Hallion took a foul ball hit by Simmons off the mask in the second and was looked at by an Angels trainer. Hallion remained behind the plate but left between innings. Second base umpire Todd Tichenor went behind the plate to finish the game. The Angels said Hallion was still experiencing headaches and will be evaluated before Wednesday’s game.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (right shoulder) threw two innings during an extended spring training game. Counsell said Nelson is likely to throw again in a couple of days before a determination is made on his next step.
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney threw for the first time since experiencing soreness in his left elbow at the end of spring training. Heaney received a cortisone shot last week and is unlikely to rejoin the rotation until next month.
Felix Pena (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will make his second start at home as the Angels finish a seven-game homestand. The right-hander struck out seven and allowed one earned run in 4 2/3 innings Friday against Texas. The Brewers will send Brandon Woodruff (1-0, 6.00) to the mound for his first start against the Angels.
By The Associated Press