ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - Justin Bour returned from his banishment to the minors with a slightly tweaked swing and a renewed hunger at the plate.
With another huge game in his June power surge, both the slugger and his Los Angeles Angels are showing it’s not too late to get something great out of their up-and-down season.
Bour hit two homers, Mike Trout scored the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning and the Angels got back above .500 with a 5-1 victory over the slumping Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
Immediately after Trout scampered home on David Fletcher’s infield hit, Bour followed with an impressive three-run homer. He also hit a solo shot in the fifth inning of his first multihomer game since joining Los Angeles in the offseason.
Bour has four homers in five starts since returning to the Angels from that monthlong stretch at Salt Lake. He was batting .163 when he was sent down, but a more upright batting stance and the reality check of 19 games of Triple-A ball have snapped Bour back into focus.
For Anaheim, designated hitter Shohei Ohtani went 3-for-3, including his fifth double of the season, walking once and scoring a run.
Yasiel Puig homered in the fifth for the Reds.
On the same day, Ohtani threw off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery, taking another significant step in his return to pitching for the Angels next season.
About four hours after Ohtani threw 40 pitches off a mound and made 70 additional throws on flat ground at Angel Stadium, he was Los Angeles’ designated hitter.
“I felt really comfortable,” Ohtani said through a translator. “It felt good to get up on there again.”
Ohtani will not pitch for the Angels until 2020, manager Brad Ausmus confirmed once again.
Braves 5, Cubs 3
In Chicago, Nick Markakis belted a three-run homer, Brian McCann had a solo shot and Atlanta held on for the win.
Cubs starter Yu Darvish (2-4) gave up five runs on five hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out eight. The defeat snapped a streak of 10 straight no-decisions for Darvish, which is a franchise record.
Yankees 8, Blue Jays 7
In New York, Gleyber Torres hit a game-winning single with one out in the bottom of the ninth as the Yankees overcame blowing a late lead and pulled out a victory over Toronto.
New York came back from an early five-run deficit and extended its major-league-record homer streak to 29 games on long balls by Didi Gregorius and DJ LeMahieu.
Pirates 14, Astros 2
In Houston, Dario Agrazal recorded his first career victory as Pittsburgh slugged its way past the Astros.
Agrazal (1-0) scattered five hits and three walks while striking out three in six innings.
In Other Games
Athletics 2, Cardinals 0
Phillies 5, Mets 4 (10)
Rockies 6, Giants 3
Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 2
Padres 10, Orioles 5
Indians 5, Royals 3
White Sox 8, Red Sox 7
Twins 6, Rays 4
Mariners 4, Brewers 2
Rangers 4, Tigers 1
Nationals 7, Marlins 5