• Baseball

Ward, Trout, Ohtani Hit 3 Straight HRs, Angels Beat KC 4-3

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) is given a hat by center fielder Mike Trout (27) after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Taylor Ward, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani hit consecutive homers in the sixth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Trout also had two doubles for the Angels, who managed only one hit in the first five innings against Jordan Lyles (0-4) before the heart of their order unloaded on the Kansas City starter during a nine-pitch span.

Ward’s drive into the short left-field porch was followed by Trout’s fifth homer of the year and Ohtani’s 415-foot blast to center for his own fifth homer. Los Angeles hadn’t hit back-to-back-to-back homers since June 8, 2019.

“It was good to see some quality at-bats, and obviously Shohei hitting a homer,” Trout said. “We gave Hunter Renfroe a little stuff because he couldn’t hit a homer (after the three straight). No, it’s all fun to get a good pitch to hit and put the barrel on it.”

Ohtani had two hits and two RBIs, and Ward scored two runs in the Angels’ second victory in five games. All three home-run hitters appeared to be revitalized after recent tough stretches on offense.

“We look at (Trout and Ohtani) like they’re Superman, and they’re human,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “They get tired. The last two nights, that’s the Mike we know. His bat has been flying through the zone.”

MJ Melendez, Vinnie Pasquantino and Bobby Witt Jr. connected for the Royals, who opened their 10-game trip by losing two of three in Anaheim. Kansas City has lost eight of nine and 11 of 13.

Lyles yielded four hits over six innings with five strikeouts.

“I know at least two of (the Angels’ homers) were off-speed pitches, and two of them were also two-strike pitches, so you give them credit,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “They put good swings on pitches when they were behind in the count. Those are three really good hitters, and Jordan did a heck of a job limiting the damage over six innings. You’re facing three of the best hitters in the game there, and that’s what they do.”

Reid Detmers yielded seven hits while pitching into the sixth for the Angels. Austin Warren (1-0) gave up Witt’s homer in the seventh during his second appearance of the season, and Carlos Estévez got his third save with a six-pitch ninth inning.

Melendez homered in the first, but Ward scored on Ohtani’s flyout later in the inning after advancing on Trout’s double.

Pasquantino delivered his fourth homer in the top of the sixth before the Angels’ barrage.

Ward had been in a 2-for-27 skid before his homer. He didn’t start Saturday night for the first time this season.

“It was a pretty cool moment, and definitely a difference-maker,” Ward said. “Definitely boosts your confidence a little bit.”

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani hits a sacrifice fly during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Sunday, April 23, 2023, in Anaheim, Calif. Taylor Ward scored on the play.

TIN CAP

Three homers gave the Royals ample opportunity to use their new home run helmet — a silver chapeau resembling a medieval knight’s headgear that they placed on the home-run hitter’s head upon his return to the dugout.

The Angels are pioneers in this field, trading in last year’s home-run cowboy hat this spring for a large samurai helmet suggested by Ohtani.