LOS ANGELES -- Half of Los Angeles baseball fans were well aware of just what rookie Mike Trout is capable of doing.The other half learned on Monday night, when the Dodgers lost to the Angels, 3-2, in the first game of the Freeway Series, and Trout was involved in each of the Angels' runs. "I haven't seen a whole lot, but I've seen plenty tonight," manager Don Mattingly said about the rookie, who finished 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs, two runs, two stolen bases and a walk. After knocking in runs during the fourth and sixth innings off starter Chris Capuano and reliever Josh Lindblom, the 20-year-old center fielder picked up the third and final run for the Angels when he scored on a two-out single by Albert Pujols in the top of the ninth. With closer Kenley Jansen in the game, Trout drew a one-out walk and stole second base with Torii Hunter at the plate. Hunter struck out swinging, and with two outs Mattingly opted to attack Pujols instead of the Mark Trumbo, who had a pair of home runs and six RBIs the night before. "It's not a great choice either way," Mattingly said. "Trumbo has been that good, and Albert is swinging the bat good. Really, in that situation, we kind of picked our poison." Pujols singled on a line drive to left field.
"In that situation, you try to look for a pitch to hit and just try to put your best swing, don't try to get too big," Pujols said. "You want to put the ball in play and hopefully something happens. It wasn't my best swing, but it was good enough."Trumbo wound up striking out swinging to end the inning, but the damage was done. Trout, Hunter, Pujols and Trumbo combined to go 7-for-17 with three RBIs and three walks, while scoring twice and stealing three bases. "They kind of don't really give you a break early," Capuano said. "You really have to make your pitches from the get-go." That wasn't the case for the lefty on Monday night, as he lasted only 86 pitches in five-plus innings. Capuano struggled early on, loading the bases in the first and third. He gave up eight hits and walked four, while allowing a pair of runs at the hands of Trout. "The first three innings, I just felt as bad as I ever have mechanically," said Capuano, who came into the game 8-2 with a 2.82 ERA. "The last two games and the first three innings tonight, I've been having a lot of problems with command walking guys." Despite that, Capuano didn't allow a run until the fourth, when Trout drove a 1-1 changeup into the second deck of the left-field stands for a solo home run. The rookie struck again two innings later with an RBI single to right with two outs. The hit scored Erick Aybar, who led off the inning with a double that ended Capuano's night. "He's a guy that can change the game," Mattingly said about Trout. "He looks like he's going to be special. It'll be something to watch for a while." The Dodgers' offense had spotted Capuano a two-run lead, as Dee Gordon led things off in the first inning with a walk that was followed by Elian Herrera's double. Gordon scored on a groundout by Andre Ethier, who increased his National League-leading RBI total to 53. After a Bobby Abreu walk, an errant throw on a pickoff attempt by Angels starter Garrett Richards allowed the runners to advance, and Herrera scored on error by Trout, who was backing up the throw in center. The Dodgers didn't score again. The Dodgers would have picked up another run in the fifth on a two-out single by Abreu, but the ball hit a streaking Gordon on his way to third for the final out. Had the ball missed the baserunner, it would have continued into left field and Gordon surely would have scored to give the team a 3-1 lead. "Early on, we got some guys out," Mattingly said. "We got those two runs early and then after that, we started not being able to get anybody in. It's the way it's going to go sometimes for us."
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.