CLEVELAND (AP) — Angels starter Mike Trout hit his seventh straight game, falling short of a major league record, but the AL Central-leading Cleveland Cavaliers beat Los Angeles 5-4 on Monday night .
Trout’s 35th homer of the season came in the fifth inning. The three-time AL MVP connected with Konnor Pilkington for a two-run, 422-foot drive into dead center at Progressive Field.
Pittsburgh’s Dale Long set the MLB record of eight consecutive home runs in 1956. The Yankees’ Don Mattingly did it in 1987, as did Ken Griffey Jr. of Seattle in 1993.
“It’s good company to be in,” Trout said. “I just put good movement on the ball and they come out.”
Trout can match the mark Tuesday night when the Angels continue their series with the Rangers. He said he’s not worried about Cleveland racing around him.
“I go up there ready to hit and whatever happens, happens,” Trout said. “I’ll come tomorrow and do the same thing because it works for me.”
Trout is the first AL player with a seven-game home run since Toronto’s Kendrys Morales in 2018. Cincinnati’s Joey Votto hit seven last season from July 24-30.
Amed Rosario doubled off Stephen Quan in the go-ahead seventh for Cleveland, which extended its lead over the Chicago White Sox to three games and five over third-place Minnesota.
“We’ve got some work to do to get there, but I think we’ve been working the right way all season,” said Guardians catcher Austin Hedges, who hit a two-run double. “We’re a team that takes the big hit.”
The game featured a strange sequence in the seventh when Cleveland manager Terry Francona and Angels interim manager Phil Nevin were both ejected without a pitch thrown in between.
Things heated up in the seventh when Francona claimed Andrés Giménez was hit by a pitch from Ryan Tepera. Francona was ejected by umpire crew chief Ron Kulpa, and when Tepera denied warmup shots after the delay, Nevin was ejected.
“Honestly, I don’t know what was going through my head and I don’t like it,” Francona said.
Nevin agreed that Francona signaled to challenge a replay in time, but Kulpa did not see the gesture. Tepera said both he and Kulpa apologized for their disagreement between innings.
“To me, this was a player safety issue, not allowing Ryan any warmup pitches,” Nevin said. “And I didn’t get it.”
Kulpa also left with two outs and two hits in the ninth after being hit in the mask by a foul hit by Matt Tice. Second baseman Carlos Torres replaced him behind the plate.
We didn’t know (Francona) was expecting us to see a hit by the infield,” first base umpire John Tubben said in a pool report. “According to our protocol, if the pitcher is on the rubber and the batter is in the box, we move on to the next pitch.”
“Obviously, player safety is paramount, and in hindsight, yes, we would have given (Tepera) a few warm-up pitches so his safety wouldn’t be at risk,” he said.
Eniel De Los Santos (4-0) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win and Emmanuel Klaas pitched a perfect ninth for his MLB-best 34th save. Aaron Loup (0-5) delivered Rosario’s RBI double.
The Guardians took a 4-0 lead in the second on Reid Detmers’ home run, highlighted by Hedges’ two-run double. Tyler Freeman and fellow rookie Kwan had RBI singles.
Pilkington allowed four runs over five innings on his 25th birthday. The left-hander also hit a two-run homer off Matt Duffy in the fourth.
Reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani went 1-3 for the Angels, who are 1-19 on the road against Cleveland since 2015.
The Guardians play 18 games in 17 days, forcing them to adjust their rotation on the fly. Pilkington made his first start since July 23, while they have not decided who will work Wednesday’s series finale.
Right-hander Cal Quantrill, who has a team-best 12 wins, would remain on regular rest if he plays against the Angels. Cleveland has a makeup game Thursday at home against the White Sox.
“If Cal had his druthers, he would have stayed on his fifth day,” Francona said.
Angels: 2B David Fletcher (bruised right hand), injured Saturday at Houston, is out for the second straight day. Fletcher took fielding drills before the game and was available for pinch-hitting.
Guardians: RHP Aaron Civale (right forearm inflammation) threw a session for manager Carl Willis earlier in the day. Francona isn’t sure if Civale will need a rehabilitation assignment before being activated.
Angels: LHP José Suarez (6-6, 3.77 ERA) has won back-to-back starts and is 5-2 with a 1.76 ERA in his last seven outings. Suarez is 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA in two career appearances against Cleveland.
Keepers: RHP Cody Morris (0-1, 3.00 ERA) is making his third appearance in the majors. Morris has totaled six innings in two starts, striking out five with three walks, since making his debut on Sept. 2 against Seattle.
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