ANAHEIM — When the Angels called up outfielder Mickey Moniak on May 12, they hoped he would spark after an encouraging spring training showing at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Moniak did exactly that and overcame it again, one homer short of the cycle and smacking a home run up the middle to lead the Angels to a 5-4 win over the Twins in the series opener on Friday at Angel Stadium. . Moniak hit a triple in the eighth inning and caught fire at the plate after being called up, hitting .474 (9-for-19) with two homers, three RBI and two stolen bases in six games.
“It feels amazing,” Moniak said. I think the ultimate goal is to be here and help the team win. And I feel like I was able to do that last week by getting up here. And just focus on one step at a time.
Moniak, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, was to give regular outfielders Mike Trout, Hunter Renfro and Taylor Ward some rest in front of the Angels’ long right-handed starting pitcher. Trout was held out of the lineup on Friday, relegating Moniak as the starter in center field and the club’s leader in hits.
Moniak once again took advantage of his strong form to impress manager Phil Nevin, who was in the same position as a player. organizations before finding his footing regularly with the Padres. Moniak went through some struggles and injuries with the Phillies organization before being acquired by the Angels at the Noah Syndergaard trade deadline last year.
“He did everything we asked,” Nevin said. “After a great spring after spring training, he came down with a great attitude. I knew he was disappointed, but he kept his head up. He worked hard for about a month in Salt Lake and got an opportunity and rolled up his sleeves and came running.
Ward, who hit .308 with eight homers and 23 RBI in 33 games with Triple-A Salt Lake, hit right-hander Joe Ryan with a single before doubling in the third to set up a sacrifice fly that gave the Angels an early lead.
The Angels tacked on two more runs in the third, but lefty Reid Detmers couldn’t hold onto the lead despite a career-high 12 strikeouts and a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. The Twins rallied for three runs in the sixth and took the lead on Willie Castro’s solo homer off lefty Tucker Davidson in the seventh.
But Moniak robbed Michael A. Taylor of a homer in center field to prevent Minnesota from adding another run. It was the first home run of Moniak’s career, said outfield coach Damon Mashorne, who helped with his defensive work.
“I like to pride myself on both sides of the ball,” Moniak said. “That’s right there, a lot of work with the mash and a lot of refining. I like to pride myself on being a good outdoorsman and it’s fun just to be able to see the fruits of my labor.
Moniak then helped the Angels mount a comeback in the bottom half of the game, when he tripled off reliever Griffin Jacks and scored Zach Neto. Moniak ended up being thrown home on Ward’s groundout, but after Shohei Ohtani walked, Renfro hit his third of the night to bring home the go-ahead run.
Moniak, who grew up north of San Diego, said he was thrilled to play such a key role in the win and had about 15-20 family members and friends at the game, his first home game since being called up this season. .
“It’s special,” Moniak said. “My career, if you look back, was a whirlwind. There were many ups and downs. And to be healthy, to contribute to this team and to work consistently since spring training, I think that’s a sign of a lot of hard work and a lot of time to try. to be better”
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