The best player in baseball and one of the best pitchers in the game squared off for an epic at-bat on Saturday night. Mike Trout and Felix Hernandez hooked up for a 14-pitch affair in the first inning in Anaheim.
Trout, the Angels superstar with two MVP awards and three runner-up finishes in his first five MLB seasons, fouled off nine pitches from the Seattle Mariners ace. But Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner and two-time runner-up, got the better of the battle with a strikeout looking.
Hernandez also struck out Trout in the third inning and held the outfielder to 0-for-3 on the night, a rare bit of success against Trout, who is hitting .367/.409/.734 with seven home runs against Hernandez, the most home runs he has allowed to any player.
Hernandez left after six innings with a 3-3 tie, then Trout feasted off the Mariners bullpen, hitting a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning in the Angels’ 5-4 win.
But that 14-pitch at-bat was sure fun to watch.
This will be the 4-5 matchup, but home-court is still up in the air. A Clippers win in San Antonio, combined with a Jazz loss to a red-hot Damian Lillard and the Blazers, allowed L.A. to leap ahead. Utah closes with the top two teams in the West, so L.A. has the edge.
Current tiebreaker: The Clippers hold a 3-1 advantage over Utah.