Trout, Pujols lead Angels’ late rally past White Sox, 4-3

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mike Trout smacked a single down the left-field line to drive in David Fletcher in the eighth inning, and Angel Stadium rocked with the roar of a crowd much bigger than the 13,207 masked people in attendance.

The Angels’ first opening day win since 2013 felt big in almost every way to a team and a sport that could use some good news.

Trout delivered the tying single and Shohei Ohtani scored the go-ahead run on Albert Pujols‘ groundout in the eighth inning, leading Los Angeles’ rally to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.

Max Stassi homered and Justin Upton had an RBI single in the Angels’ first opening day at home since 2016. The Halos’ late surge for two unearned runs thrilled Angel Stadium’s first crowd since 2019, ended their embarrassing losing streak on opening day – and even spoiled the second debut of White Sox manager Tony La Russa.

“Felt like big league baseball again. It was great,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “(The) 13,000 fans felt like 40, 50, 60,000. … Just a brilliant performance. For an opening night, that’s as good as it’s going to get with your team. If we keep playing that type of baseball, we’re going to win a lot of games.”

Trout and Pujols came up big in the eighth against powerful Chicago reliever Aaron Bummer (0-1) in front of the biggest sports crowd in the Los Angeles metroplex since the start of the pandemic.

“It was nice having the fans back in the stands,” Upton said. “There was a lot of energy, and it kind of locks you in. Bummer has got great stuff, and we were just trying to fight him.”

Fletcher opened the eighth by beating out an infield single off Bummer’s glove. Second baseman Nick Madrigal then made a throwing error on a hard-hit grounder from Ohtani, and Fletcher took third on a passed ball before Trout smacked a single to left.

Upton drew an 11-pitch walk to load the bases for Pujols, whose high-bouncing groundout easily scored Ohtani. Pujols’ RBI was the 16th of his career on opening day, the most among active players.

“(Bummer) does his job, gets groundballs, and the last run scored was on a chopper,” La Russa said. “That’s baseball. If you put the ball in play, good things happen, and it happened for them.”

Mike Mayers (1-0) pitched the eighth, and Raisel Iglesias needed just eight pitches in the ninth to earn the save in his Angels debut.

Adam Eaton hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in his first game back with the White Sox.

Lucas Giolito retired the Angels’ first 11 batters and pitched two-hit ball into the sixth inning for Chicago. The Southern California native baffled the Angels’ lineup his first time through, striking out six of nine largely with his changeup.

Giolito left with a 3-2 lead, but the Angels jumped on Bummer and kept new closer Liam Hendriks out of the game.

“Giolito threw a heck of a game and put us in position to win,” Eaton said. “Trout is barreling on 96 (mph), and Upton comes up and puts a really good at-bat together. Circumstances were tough, but that’s kind of how we drew it up for our (pitchers).”

Dylan Bundy yielded six hits and three runs with six strikeouts over six innings in his first opening day start for the Angels.


White Sox: OF Adam Engel went on the 10-day injured list with a strained right hamstring, and LHP Jace Fry was placed on the 10-day IL to recover from a microdiscectomy.

Angels: Ohtani’s potential blister on his throwing hand shouldn’t affect his ability to pitch Sunday, Maddon said.


The 76-year-old La Russa is back in Chicago’s dugout 34 years after he was fired and nine years after he last managed in the majors with Pujols and the Cardinals. La Russa was a special adviser to the Angels’ front office last season.

La Russa’s first significant strategy decision of the season perhaps showed a willingness to change with the times: He pulled Giolito after 87 pitches in the sixth inning so he wouldn’t face Trout a third time.


Pujols went 0 for 4 with one huge RBI in the 21st opening day start of his career. The 41-year-old Pujols matched Eddie Murray and Al Kaline for the second-most opening day starts in baseball history, trailing only Pete Rose’s 23.

Pujols is one of five players to make at least 10 opening day starts with the Angels. Garret Anderson holds the franchise record with 13, while Trout has started the last nine straight.


Fletcher began his fourth big league season by going 1 for 4 with two uncharacteristic strikeouts as the Angels’ leadoff hitter and second baseman. He signed a five-year, $26 million contract earlier in the day.


Dallas Keuchel looks to extend his career-long mastery over the Angels when he takes the mound against Andrew Heaney. Keuchel is 12-2 with a 3.36 ERA in 18 appearances against Los Angeles.

Trevor Bauer pulls on No. 96 for Yokohama’s BayStars

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YOKOHAMA, Japan – Trevor Bauer apparently was shunned by every major league team, so he’s signed a one-year deal with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

Before about 75 reporters in a Yokohama hotel, he slipped on the BayStars uniform – No. 96 – on Friday and said all the right things. Not a single Japanese reporter asked him about his suspension in the United States over domestic violence allegations or the reasons surrounding it.

The only question about it came from The Associated Press. Bauer disputed the fact the question suggested he was suspended from the major leagues.

“I don’t believe that’s accurate,” he said of the suspension. “But I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to pitch again. I’ve always wanted to play in Japan.”

He said the suspension dealt technically with matters of pay, and he said he had contacted major league teams about playing this year. He said he would have been eligible, but did not say if he had offers.

The 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Jan. 12, three weeks after an arbitrator reduced his suspension imposed by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred from 324 to 194 games.

The penalty followed an investigation into domestic violence, which the pitcher has denied.

Manfred suspended Bauer last April for violating the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy, after a San Diego woman said he beat and sexually abused her in 2021.

Bauer has maintained he did nothing wrong, saying everything that happened between him and the woman was consensual. He was never charged with a crime.

Bauer joined his hometown Dodgers before the 2021 season and was 8-5 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 starts before being placed on paid leave.

Bauer said his goal with the BayStars was to strike out 200 and keep his average fastball velocity at 96 mph – hence his uniform number. He said he is also working on a better change-up pitch.

He said he hoped to play by mid-April – about two weeks after the Japanese season begins – and said he has been training for the last 1 1/2 years.

“I’ve been doing a lot of strength training and throwing,” he said. “I didn’t really take any time off. So I’ve had a year and a half of development time. I’m stronger than ever. More powerful than ever.”

Yokohama has not won a title in 25 years, and Bauer said that was his goal in the one-year deal.

“First and foremost, I want to help the Stars win a championship,” he said. “That involves pitching well. That involves helping teammates and learning from them. If they have questions – you know – share my knowledge with them.”

He also repeated several times about his desire to play in Japan, dating from a collegiate tournament in 2009 at the Tokyo Dome. He said playing in Japan was on his mind even before winning the Cy Young – and also immediately after.

“The Tokyo Dome was sold out,” he said. “I’d never played in front of that many people – probably combined in my life. In the United States, college games aren’t very big, so seeing that amount of passion. How many people came to a college game in Japan. It really struck me.”

He said he’d been practicing with the Japanese ball, which he said was slightly softer with higher seams.

“But overall it just feels like a baseball and the pitches move the same. The velocity is similar. I don’t notice much of a difference.”

Other teams in Japan have made similar controversial signings before.

Former major league reliever Roberto Osuna – who received a 75-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy – signed last season with the Chiba Lotte Marines.

He has signed for this season with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.

In 1987, Dodgers relief pitcher Steve Howe, who had a career plagued with drug problems, tried to sign with the Seibu Lions. But he did not play in the country after the Japanese baseball commissioner disqualified Howe because of his history of drug abuse.

Bauer was an All-Star in 2018 and went 83-69 with a 3.79 ERA in 10 seasons for Arizona (2012), Cleveland, (2013-19), Cincinnati (2019-20) and the Dodgers. He won the NL Cy Young Award with Cincinnati during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.