ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Six years after Alex Meyer was a first-round draft pick, the 6-foot-9 right-hander is still trying to realize his enormous potential as a big league pitcher.
Meyer appears to be on his way after outpitching Justin Verlander in the longest and best start of his career for the Los Angeles Angels.
Mike Trout homered in his third straight game and Meyer pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning of the Angels' 4-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
Meyer (2-1) is attempting to secure his spot in Los Angeles' rotation after two stints in Triple-A this season. His fourth start of the season was largely outstanding, and he picked up his third career win when his teammates got to Verlander for two solo homers.
"I don't want to get comfortable with anything," Meyer said. "It's tough up here. It's not easy, and I've got to remember that, which I will. It was a good stepping stone today, and hopefully I'll build off it and get better."
After giving up two hits and his only run in his first five pitches, Meyer limited the Tigers to two walks and recorded a career-high seven strikeouts. The Angels are Meyer's third big league organization, and he has his best chance yet to stick in the big show after back-to-back victories.
"The whole thing you'd like to see in the game plan, he accomplished it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Danny Espinosa hit a tiebreaking homer off Verlander, helping the Angels to just their fourth win in 12 games.
Andrelton Simmons added an RBI single to chase Verlander (3-3) in the seventh as the Angels split four games with the Tigers, who haven't won a series in Anaheim in eight tries since 2009.
Ian Kinsler doubled and scored on Nicholas Castellanos' single to put the Tigers up early, but they didn't score again.
"We just didn't muster up anything offensively," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "It was a different day, for sure. ... This team is going to hit. It's not something I'm going to worry about."
Bud Norris pitched the ninth for his seventh save in nine chances.
VERLANDER VS. TROUT
Verlander yielded five hits and walked five while pitching into the seventh inning of his first loss in four starts. With seven strikeouts, Verlander passed Tommy John and pulled even with Eddie Plank for 53rd place in baseball history with 2,246 career strikeouts.
But he regretted his hanging slider to Trout in the first inning to give away his early lead. Trout also was hit by a pitch and drew a walk from Verlander.
"In two at-bats, I didn't give him anything to hit," Verlander said. "The one pitch I did give him to hit was a cookie. So it's tough facing him, obviously."
With his 11th homer, Trout went deep in three straight games for the third time in his career, also accomplishing the feat in September 2013 and June 2016. The two-time AL MVP also stole two bases, joining Alex Rodriguez as the only players to get 175 homers and 150 steals before their age-26 season.
Trout reached base three times before driving in another run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Espinosa was mired in a 3-for-57 slump before cranking a 433-foot shot to right in the fourth. The power-hitting second baseman hadn't homered since April 13, and the hit was just his second since April 26.
Cameron Maybin stole second base three times for the Angels, matching his career high in steals. He also became the first player in franchise history to get three walks and three steals in the same game.
Along with Trout's steals, Los Angeles had two players with two stolen bases apiece for the first time since July 30, 2011, at Detroit.
Angels: 3B Yunel Escobar had an MRI exam on his hamstring and was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain, sending him to the disabled list and likely sidelining him for two to four weeks.
Tigers: Matthew Boyd (2-3, 3.89 ERA) makes his eighth start of the year when Detroit returns home to face Baltimore. Boyd has never faced the Orioles or beaten an AL East team.
Angels: Jesse Chavez (2-5, 4.29 ERA) takes the mound when the Chicago White Sox visit Anaheim to open a three-game set. Los Angeles' preseason fifth starter isn't getting great results, but is eating up innings for an injury-plagued staff.