ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Caleb Thielbar had two strikes on Mike Trout when both Angels runners advanced on a wild pitch. With first base suddenly open, Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli intentionally walked the three-time AL MVP to bring up Justin Upton.
When Upton smashed a grand slam, Baldelli’s decision was easy to second-guess.
In truth, Los Angeles’ experienced hitters aren’t allowing their opponents many easy choices during a strong start to the season.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that know what they’re doing,” Upton said.
Upton hit his eighth career slam in the seventh inning, and Jared Walsh homered and drove in three runs in the Angels’ 10-3 victory over the Twins on Friday night.
Trout delivered a go-ahead, two-run single as the Angels opened a six-game homestand with a prolific offensive performance. Upton’s no-doubt homer — punctuated by his cool method of discarding his bat — was part of a six-run, six-hit rally in the seventh.
The veteran slugger didn’t deny getting some motivation from the Twins’ decision to pitch to him.
“You’ve got to use a little bit of it, I guess,” Upton said. “But it’s Mike Trout in front of you, so you’ve got to expect that. You’ve got to be prepared.”
Walsh immediately followed Upton’s shot with his fourth homer in 12 games to start the season.
“I told (Upton) that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of, and I was just sitting on deck,” said Walsh, who also had an early two-run single. “They walk Trouty, which is understandable, and Justin makes them pay. … When he hit the ball and I saw the bat drop and all that, my jaw was on the floor. It was just a really cool moment.”
Mitch Garver had a two-run double and Josh Donaldson added a go-ahead single in the sixth for the Twins, who…