The Juice: Mike Trout hits monster homer as Angels win fifth straight and creep into third place

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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This is more like what this year's Los Angeles Angels were expecting.

Thursday night the Angels won their fifth in a row, downing the Kansas City Royals 5-4 thanks to home runs from Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo and Chris Ianetta. The win pulled the Angels even with the Seattle Mariners for third place in the AL West and gave roughed-up pitcher Joe Blanton his first win of the season in nine starts.

The Angels are now 20-27 and the highest they've been in the standings since April 27. It's not proof that everything is right in Anaheim, but it's a promising sign that things are getting better.

The most impressive moment for the Angels came early: Trout's first inning home run traveled 463 feet, the longest of his career, the third longest this week and 11th longest of the season, according to Home Run Tracker.

The homer was Trout's 10th. He also stole his 10th base of the season. His recent hot streak has already started talk of Trout making a run at the 40/40 Club.

"Oh my gosh, did they run out of tape to measure it?" Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the L.A. Times. "That thing was killed."

Tito wins big in Fenway return: Terry Francona returned to Fenway Park on Thursday, and his new team, the Cleveland Indians, put a beat down on his old team.

The Boston Red Sox took a 12-3 lashing from the manager who led them to two World Series titles. The Indians got big offensive contributions from Mark Reynolds (3-for-4, 3 RBIs), Michael Bourn (3-for-6, 2 RBIs) and Drew Stubbs (3-for-5, 3 RBIs, including the two-run triple above).

''I tried to keep my emotions inside,'' Francona said. ''I didn't want to be the main focus. You want to let the players play.''


Pirates 4, Cubs 2: Andrew McCutchen has three hits and two RBIs as Pittsburgh wins for the 11th time in its last 13 games.

Tigers 7, Twins 6: Prince Fielder cracks open the tie game with a go-ahead single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Miguel Cabrera knocks two hits (including his 14th home run) and three RBIs.

Blue Jays 12, Orioles 6: The Canadian Tuxedos backfires. The Blue Jays bats blister the O's, as Edwin Encarnacion and J.P. Arencibia notch four RBIs each. Encarnacion's came on a sixth-inning grand slam.

“I've been waiting my entire life for this, and I haven't been able to sleep very much lately. So it was something that was great to get out of the way. Hopefully I can sleep tonight" — Kevin Gausman, the Baltimore Orioles 2012 first-round pick who was making his big league debut Thursday against the Blue Jays.

Gausman took the loss, giving up four runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out five.

Jose Canseco reacts to striking out in his first at-bat with the Fort Worth Cats of the United League, whom he joined as a player/manager for four games. Canseco went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts and a single. Canseco's trip to Fort Worth comes amid rape allegation in Las Vegas. Yahoo! Sports' Joe Garza reports on the Canseco sideshow in Texas.

• Miguel Cabrera has 55 RBIs in the Tigers' first 45 games. The most since Manny Ramirez in 2001.

• The Pittsburgh Pirates, with their 29-18 record, would be in first place in four of the other five divisions in the MLB. They're tied for second in the NL Central with the Cincinnati Reds, both trailing the St. Louis Cardinals. The only other team with a better record is the Texas Rangers, whose 30-17 mark is the best in baseball.

• Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals went 0-for-3 to snap his 10-game hitting streak.

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