In Mike Trout's case on Saturday night, it was hitting the wall that allowed him to circle the bases.
Trout singled, hit an inside-the-park homer and scored twice for the Double-A Arkansas Travelers, who dropped a 5-4 decision to the Midland RockHounds.
MLB.com's No. 1 prospect went 0-for-6 with a walk to begin his first season at Double-A. The 19-year-old center fielder took a 1-1 pitch back up the middle for the leadoff single in the first inning and came around to score two batters later on a groundout by Luis Jimenez.
With none out in the third, Trout pulled a ball down the left-field line that bounced off the wall, enabling him to race around the bases for a two-run homer.
"I hit it pretty good and it went straight up and got caught up in the wind," said Trout, who also hit an inside-the-park homer in last year's California League playoffs. "As soon as it went off the wall I knew I had a chance to score. You know, a home run is a home run. I just hit the ball as hard as I can and run hard; that's the way I look at it."
Trout, the 25th overall pick in the 2009 Draft, is coming off an eye-opening season in which he batted .341 in 131 games between Class A Cedar Rapids and Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. The New Jersey native tied for fifth in the Minor Leagues with 56 stolen bases and was sixth with 106 runs scored, earning Midwest League MVP honors along the way.
Trout already has put those accolades in his rear-view mirror while setting new goals.
"Just like last year, try to hit the ball strong and up the gaps," Trout said. "I'm not a guy who is going to hit 30 homers, so I just want to give my team every opportunity to win. I'm one of those guys that, it's a new year and I want to put up new numbers and make it to the big leagues. That's my goal."
Trout went hitless in back-to-back games only three times last season. But he wasn't concerned about his slow start.
"I felt good at the plate in my last few appearances," he said. "It's all about confidence, you have to stay confident."
Trout did his best to keep the Travelers in the game, drawing a two-out walk in the ninth off reliever Fautino De Los Santos. With Arkansas trailing by a run, he understood the importance of getting into scoring position and promptly stole second.
"Once I got on first, I knew I had to get to second somehow," Trout said. "I saw that high leg kick and took advantage of it."
Trout had an opportunity to play for the Angels in Spring Training, where he posted a .364 on-base percentage in 16 Cactus League games. His most memorable experience came in getting a chance to observe the man he may succeed in the outfield, Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter.
"Going in, I was nervous. I just sat back and watched the game," Trout said. "Torii is out there working hard every day with a smile on his face. He sat down and talked to me a little bit and gave me an idea what to expect in the Majors. That's really great early in my career."
Grant Green, selected 12 spots before Trout in the 2009 Draft, continued his strong start for the RockHounds, collecting two hits and driving in the tying run in the eighth. He's batting .455 to start the season. Stephen Parker homered and scored twice for Midland.