Trumbo saves a game with his glove …

How big was Mark Trumbo‘s eighth-inning play?

“That’s a base hit, it’s going to be a 5-3 game, and you’re going to have first-and-third, and you’re going to have one out,” Mike Scioscia said. “Does [Scott] Downs work out of the rest? We don’t know. But believe me, it made it set up a lot easier for us making the play.”

Trumbo lunged to his right, snared a bullet one-hopper off the bat of David Freese, fired to Erick Aybar at second base and watched his shortstop throw to a streaking Downs, who got to first base just in the nick of time to get the inning-ending double play that got the Angels out of a bases-loaded jam and keyed a seventh straight win.

If for just a split second, Downs hesitates getting to first base because he assumes the ball gets through, the second out doesn’t take place — and who knows what happens from there.

“And we’ve all done that in the past,” Downs said. “We’ve all been late to get to first, and it’s just one of things where, throwing so many ground balls, it’s almost like it’s a natural instinct. The first step is just to get over there, and Trumbo made a great play on it.”

Healthy, two-time Gold Glover Albert Pujols perhaps makes that play. Hobbled Pujols? Probably not. OK, definitely not.

“That was a heck of a play to make,” Pujols said. “That was the savior of the game right there.”

Asked where that ranks for him in terms of defensive plays, Trumbo said: “Considering the situation, probably up there pretty high.” It was especially nice considering his recent struggles at the plate, which moved him down to the No. 6 spot of the lineup for Tuesday’s series opener. Trumbo had an RBI single in the second inning, but he struck out his other three times and is now batting .203 with 35 strikeouts in his last 36 games.

“You have to bring something to the table,” Trumbo said. “If you’re not hitting, you really need to hunker down and contribute in some way. If that’s defense, it makes you feel pretty good.”


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