Posted on June 5, 2012 at 9:55 PM
Tuesday, Jun 5 at 11:23 PM
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- With nary a trace of fanfare, Los Angeles Angels slugger Mark Trumbo has quietly nestled into third place in the AL batting race.
Trumbo homered twice, going 4 for 4 with four RBIs and leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night. He raised his average from .322 to .337, eight points ahead of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
"I don't check the numbers too much," Trumbo said. "I really don't care about my batting average, as long as it's within a respectable range. The numbers that matter to me are the power numbers, driving the ball and getting on base. I mean, I'm pleased with where I'm at, but I'm more pleased that we've been playing well as a team."
Trumbo, who trails Paul Konerko and Josh Hamilton in the batting race, opened the scoring with a first-pitch drive over the center-field wall. Two pitches later, Torii Hunter sent his sixth of the season over the bullpen fence in left, giving the Angels consecutive homers for the first time this season.
The Angels increased their lead to 4-1 in the bottom half with RBI singles by Albert Pujols and Trumbo, who made it 6-1 in the fifth with another towering homer to center on an 0-2 pitch after Pujols doubled.
Trumbo's four hits tied a career high. He also did it May 17 against the Chicago White Sox at Anaheim. Only one other time this season had an Angels player homered twice in a game -- Kendrys Morales did it in Monday's series opener.
"I was able to get a couple of pitches up and I didn't chase. That's the biggest thing," Trumbo said. "It's a strange game. Yesterday -- statistically -- was the worst game I ever played. And today would probably take the cake for the best game I've played."
Trumbo was 0 for 5 with four strikeouts and stranded five baserunners in Monday night's series opener.
What a difference a day made.
"I put that game behind me as soon as I walked out of here," he said. "Chasing those breaking pitches in the dirt, that can't happen too often. But if I dwelled on that and let it carry over into today, I probably wouldn't have been able to do hardly anything at all.
"I guess the last week or so has been a little inconsistent. I looked at some video and my swing had gotten a little long, so today I tried to shorten it up and try not to miss a couple of those pitches I missed yesterday and in previous days."
Garrett Richards (1-0) pitched seven innings for his first major league victory. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed a run and four hits, walked two and struck out eight against an offense that averaged 9.2 runs over its previous six games -- including a 21-8 rout at Texas last Wednesday.
"He's a guy with a really good arm," Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager said. "He's throws his off-speed pitches for strikes and he's got good movement on his fastball. He definitely has good stuff."
Richards was filling in for ace Jered Weaver, who is on the disabled list with a lower back strain. He yielded only one hit through the first 4 2-3 innings -- a leadoff homer by Michael Richards in the third.
"It feels great, but it doesn't feel real right now," said Garrett Richards, who made his major league debut last August at Yankee Stadium and gave up a three-run homer to Curtis Granderson before recording his first out in a 9-3 loss while Weaver was serving a six-game suspension.
"It was good to get the first one out of the way," he added. "Last year I kind of got my feet wet and didn't really know what to expect. Tonight the command was there and I really had a good feel for all my pitches. I had the two-seamer down and my slider was good. I just felt comfortable out there."
Blake Beavan (3-5) pitched five innings and gave up six runs on 10 hits in five innings, including all three homers. It was the third time in 26 big league starts that the right-hander allowed three in one game, including consecutive home starts last August against Boston and Toronto.
"It's been like this the last couple of starts. I'm making good pitches and bad pitches at the same time," Beavan said. "I feel like I'm making a lot more good pitches than bad pitches, but nothing's going my way right now. I think the only thing I can do is keep working hard between starts and try to battle through it. Hopefully it will turn around."
Angels catcher Bobby Wilson, who was replaced by a pinch-hitter on Monday after getting struck in the facemask by a foul tip, was placed on the seven-day concussion DL. Wilson went on the 15-day DL in April 2010 with a concussion, after a bone-jarring collision with the Yankees' Mark Teixeira at home plate -- a play that also resulted in a sprained left ankle in Wilson's first big league start behind the plate.
Notes: Weaver took part in long-toss drills before batting practice. ... Former Mariners GM Hal Keller died in his sleep early Tuesday at age 84 after a battle with esophageal cancer. He joined Seattle's front office as director of player development before becoming GM for three years, and later scouted for the Angels. Keller also helped introduce the radar gun to the majors while working in the Rangers organization. ... Seattle RF Ichiro Suzuki was 0 for 4 and is hitless in three straight games for the first time since a three-game stretch last July. ... C Hank Conger was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill Wilson's roster spot. ... The Angels, who lost their picks in the first and second round of the draft to St. Louis and Texas after signing Pujols and fellow free agent C.J. Wilson last December, finally got their chance in the third round and selected RHP R.J. Alvarez from Florida Atlantic University. ... The Mariners have homered in seven straight games, their longest streak since an 11-game stretch in August 2009.