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KANSAS CITY 6, ANGELS 3

Frustrating loss for the Angels

They commit three errors and hit into three double plays in their first loss, 6-3, to the Royals this season.

September 08, 2009|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

KANSAS CITY, MO. — The Angels had a lengthy stay in Kansas City, an off day last Thursday and four games Friday through Monday, just long enough to catch the nasty bug that has plagued the Royals all season.

In an odd role reversal, it was the first-place Angels who played shoddy defense and squandered several scoring opportunities Monday and the last-place Royals who turned three double plays and came up with enough big hits.

It added up to a frustration-filled 6-3 loss in Kauffman Stadium, the Royals' first victory in 10 games against the Angels this season.

Billy Butler hit two home runs and drove in four runs, and closer Joakim Soria struck out three of four in the ninth for his 22nd save, as the Royals avoided a four-game sweep.

The Angels had Royals starter Kyle Davies, who gave up five hits and issued six walks in five innings, on the ropes but mustered only one run against him, on Bobby Abreu's homer in the fifth.

The Angels entered with an American League-leading .987 fielding percentage and a league-low 64 errors, but a first-inning miscue by pitcher Ervin Santana, who threw a potential double-play ball into center field, cost them two runs. It was the first of three Angels errors Monday.

"The fact that we cracked the door open early and couldn't capitalize set the tone," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We couldn't get ahold of one or get that big hit early in the game."

This has been a disturbing trend for the Angels, who lead the major leagues with a .301 average with runners in scoring position but are batting .235 (39 for 166) in those situations over the last 18 games. Abreu's home run Monday ended the team's 44-inning homerless streak.

The Angels had 10 hits, including four doubles and a homer, and drew eight walks, matching a season high, but had very little to show for it.

"Usually when we get that many guys on base, we score more runs," leadoff batter Chone Figgins said. "Guys are probably trying too hard to get the big hit. Sometimes, you've got to back off and make the pitcher work a bit."

The Angels rallied from a 5-1 deficit in the seventh when Abreu doubled with two out, Vladimir Guerrero walked and Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales greeted reliever Kyle Farnsworth with run-scoring singles to make it 5-3.

With two on, Juan Rivera drove a ball to deep left, but David DeJesus raced to the warning track and made a leaping catch to end the inning.

The big swing inning was the first. Figgins opened with a walk and took third on Maicer Izturis' hit-and-run single. It appeared the Angels were headed for a big inning, with the heart of their order up.

But Abreu hit a ground ball to first, and Butler threw home to nail Figgins. Guerrero popped out to first, and after Hunter walked to load the bases, Morales grounded out to the pitcher.

DeJesus led off the bottom of the first with a single. Then Santana fielded Mitch Maier's grounder and threw about eight feet wide of shortstop Erick Aybar, who was covering second.

"I tried to be too perfect," Santana said. "I threw sidearm, and I overthrew it."

The error enabled DeJesus to reach third. Butler struck out -- it would have been the third out had the Angels turned the double play -- but Mike Jacobs and Alberto Callaspo hit consecutive run-scoring singles for a 2-0 lead.

Butler's two-run homer, which traveled an estimated 442 feet and hit the Royals Hall of Fame building beyond the left-field wall, gave Kansas City a 4-1 lead in the fifth, and his solo shot in the eighth made it 6-3.

"If we do that 1-6 feed in the first, there's a different look to that game," Scioscia said. "We didn't do some of the things we needed to do."

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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