DETROIT — Mark Trumbo isn’t your typical seventh hitter.
The Los Angeles Angels rookie proved that again Thursday, putting together the biggest game of his young career to help the Angels beat the Detroit Tigers 12-7.
Trumbo homered and drove in a career-high five runs, and is now hitting .256 with 19 homers and 53 RBIs this season.
“Power and production are what I need to do,” he said. “That’s what first basemen are known for.”
He also tripled, doubled and scored three times. Needing a single for the cycle, he grounded out leading off the ninth inning.
“I had an idea what I needed, because I’m usually aware of what I’ve done in the game,” he said of his last at-bat. “It was in the back of my mind, and if it happened, great, but I had already produced in the game.”
Bobby Cassevah (1-0) worked 2 1-3 scoreless innings of relief for the win.
“What Bobby did kept us in the game,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “That was just a big outing, and hopefully, he’ll keep contributing like that, because he has a big arm.”
Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the Angels’ three-run second. He tripled in the fourth and doubled in the seventh.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was ejected in the third for arguing that a pitch had hit Austin Jackson.
“That’s a tough call for an umpire, because the knob of the bat and the hand come together, but Austin has a bruise the size of a baseball on his hand,” Leyland said. “I talked to Jerry after the game, and there’s no problem. It is just one of those things that happens. You have to defend your players.”
Los Angeles led 7-6 after six innings, then scored five times in the seventh. Tigers reliever David Purcey started the inning, but gave up a single and two walks without getting an out. Phil Coke came on and allowed a two-run single to Howie Kendrick and Trumbo’s two-run double.
After the Angels’ three-run second, the Tigers got a run back in the bottom of the inning on Miguel Cabrera’s 22nd homer — a 428-foot drive that landed in the shrubbery above the center-field fence.
Detroit made it 3-2 on Brennan Boesch’s RBI single in the third, but the Angels scored four more in the fourth.
Kendrick started the inning with an infield single and Trumbo followed with a triple. Peter Bourjos hit his second double of the game to put Los Angeles up 5-2, which resulted in Tigers starter Brad Penny yelling at catcher Victor Martinez. The two were calmed down by pitching coach Jeff Jones, but Penny was pulled two batters later after Erick Aybar’s RBI single.
Penny downplayed the incident, saying it was a discussion about how Martinez was calling the signs with a runner on second base, but the catcher refused to talk about the incident.
“Next question,” Martinez said. “Don’t ask about that.”
Trumbo was startled by the argument.
“I’ve seen stuff like that before, but I’ve never heard it as loud as that,” he said.
Penny (7-8) gave up seven runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Charlie Furbush allowed an RBI single to Torii Hunter, making it 7-2, but the Tigers scored four times in the bottom half.
Jhonny Peralta and Boesch had RBI singles, while Andy Dirks drove in two runs with a base hit.
Wilson Betemit finished the scoring with a homer off Scott Downs in the eighth.
NOTES: Former Tigers closer Fernando Rodney was booed when he came in to pitch a 1-2-3 seventh inning. ... Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque did not pitch after being bothered by a sore elbow during Detroit’s visit to Chicago. Alburquerque was on the disabled list from June 30 to July 16 with the same problem.