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Boxberger's strategy backfires against Trout

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ANAHEIM -- Brad Boxberger "tripled down" when he threw three consecutive changeups to Mike Trout in the ninth inning of Thursday night's 6-5 loss to the Angels. Trout made him pay on the third one by hitting a walk-off, three-run homer over the wall in left.

Trout's homer came after Rays manager Joe Maddon lifted closer Grant Balfour in favor of Boxberger with runners at the corners, no outs and the Rays clinging to a 5-3 lead.

Tripling down is "no different than throwing three fastballs in a row," said Maddon, noting that he made the decision to lift Balfour in favor of Boxberger because Balfour wasn't right, and he was hoping to get strikeouts and that Boxberger has been really good at "missing bats."

Maddon said there is nothing wrong with tripling down as doing so can create a mind game with the hitter, like the pitcher would not possibly think about throwing another changeup.

"Boxy has a great changeup, not an OK one," Maddon said. "The last one was in a bad spot. Primarily, that's what it came down to, location. He could have bounced that, there's other things he could have done. I'll never denigrate Boxy for throwing his changeup. It's one of the best changeups in all of baseball. But he also has a good fastball, and he has a good curveball.

"But that was the route he chose yesterday. And I've had this conversation with him before. I will not second guess him ever using his changeup."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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