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.