PHOENIX (AP) – Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton homered in the same game for the first time this spring and combined for four of the Los Angeles Angels’ 14 hits in a 9-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.
Kole Calhoun led off the game with a single and Trout followed with his fifth homer this spring, a line drive to left-center. Trout added a single in the third and is batting .426 with 16 RBIs.
Hamilton, playing his fifth Cactus League game after missing several weeks with a strained calf, hit a towering drive down the right field line off starter Kyle Lohse in the fifth. Hamilton had two hits in five at-bats.
“Josh is working hard,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s putting a lot of work in getting live BP on the lower fields in the morning and he carried it through to the game. Over the next couple of days he’ll play (every day). He needs his at-bats right now. “
Chad Tracy put the Angels ahead with a three-run shot in the seventh.
Carlos Gomez hit a leadoff homer for the Brewers and added a single. Elian Herrera had two hits, including a two-run triple over Trout’s head in center field.
“He’s getting on base, he’s hitting for power and doing a lot of good things,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. “For right now, I like the way that’s going.”
After committing five errors in a 7-5 loss Friday to Texas, the Brewers made four more on Saturday. They have 28 in 25 games this spring.
“We’re not playing good defense behind these (pitchers) and it makes it really hard to tell anything,” Roenicke said. “We can’t keep doing this. It is spring training, but I don’t like to play sloppy. I feel for our pitchers. They are doing are good job and I don’t want them to stay out there and throw as many pitches.”
Earlier in the day, the Brewers exercised Roenicke’s contract option for 2015.
Angels: Joe Blanton has moved his delivery point to the third base side of the rubber and admitted to having some comfort issues. Competing with Tyler Skaggs for the final spot in the rotation, Blanton allowed six hits and four runs over 4 1-3 innings. He walked four and have up two homers in an outing that raised his ERA to 7.08 and didn’t help his cause.
“I had a rough start and since moving over I really had to make adjustments during the game. It took me a little bit to figure it out,” Blanton said. “I started to feel better as the game went on. The last five hitters or so felt the best. I was rushing too much. It was just one of those games.”
Blanton has one more spring start to make his case. And if told he’ll start the season in the bullpen?
“We’ll cross that road when we get there,” he said. “I’m not thinking about anything but the next start. There’s nothing I can do about it but pitch and keep working hard and compete.”
Brewers: Lohse, taken deep by Trout and Hamilton, allowed eight hits. On the plus side, the right-hander had seven strikeouts in an 87-pitch outing and helped his own cause with a bloop RBI single.
“I was able to locate my fastball and my change was working pretty good. I think I got three or four (strikeouts) just on that,” Lohse said. “I was mad after my hit because all the pitchers had already left. I was like, ‘Come on man, where’s the love?’ It was your perfect, 60-degree flop shot. I’ll take it.”
TAKING THE LEAD
After trying a handful of options, Roenicke has all but settled on Gomez as his leadoff hitter. Other candidates were shortstop Jean Segura, and second base contenders Rickie Weeks and Scooter Gennett.
Going into Saturday, Gomez was hitting .317 (13 for 41) with eight doubles, two homers and a .366 on-base percentage in Cactus League play. Segura will likely bat second, giving the Brewers speed at the top of the lineup in front of sluggers Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez.
Gomez made the All-Star team during a breakout season last year. He led the Brewers with 27 homers and 24 doubles while batting a career-best .284 with a .338 on-base percentage.
“I’m just going to do my job and continue to be aggressive,” Gomez said. “It’s not like I will change my approach. Ron told me, ‘If you lead off, just be you. When you’re good, you’re aggressive. Make the job easy for everyone.'”
WHO’S ON FIRST?
The Brewers have apparently made at least one decision at first base. Juan Francisco’s locker was empty Saturday, leaving veterans Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds, both on minor league contracts with choices to make in the next few days, at that spot for right now.
“(Sunday) we’ve got to make the decision,” Roenicke said.