Aybar, Angels beat Royals 7-5 to end 6-game skid
Sunday, June 12, 2011
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Erick Aybar opened the scoring with a three-run triple, Bobby Abreu came home with the go-ahead run on reliever Aaron Crow's second wild pitch of the seventh inning, and the Los Angeles Angels snapped a season-worst six-game losing streak with a 7-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Howie Kendrick had three hits, including a pair of RBI singles, and slumping Vernon Wells singled his first three times up after a closed-door meeting with manager Mike Scioscia that also included Abreu and Torii Hunter.
Scioscia called the three veteran All-Stars into his office before batting practice to impress upon them their responsibilities as a trio in the middle of the lineup to wake up a slumbering offense that had averaged two runs over the previous nine games.
Hunter, Abreu and Wells were a combined 4 for 10 with two walks and no RBIs.
Hunter prevented the Royals from taking the lead in the seventh when he fielded Jeff Francoeur's single to right field and threw out Melky Cabrera at the plate for his eighth outfield assist this season.
Royals reliever Tim Collins (3-3) was replaced by Crow after giving up a pair of one-out walks in the bottom half. Abreu scored on the wild pitch to Alberto Callaspo, who was intentionally walked. Wells and Callaspo executed a double steal, and Wells scored on Kendrick's single off Crow's left foot.
Scott Downs (4-2) retired all four batters he faced to get the win, and rookie Jordan Walden pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 17 chances, striking out Eric Hosmer and Francoeur before retiring Billy Butler on a fly to right with the potential tying runs at second and third.
Angels right-hander Joel Pineiro came up short again in his sixth attempt to get his 100th major league victory. He was charged with five runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings, leaving with a 5-4 lead before Matt Treanor greeted Rich Thompson with a tying RBI single. It was the seventh hit the Australian-born righty allowed in his last four appearances.
Mike Moustakas tried to score on a safety squeeze by Chris Getz moments later, and was cut down at the plate by first baseman Kendrick's throw to Jeff Mathis. Alcides Escobar walked, loading the bases, but Thompson came back to strike out Alex Gordon.
Moustakas, the second overall pick in the 2007 draft and one of nine rookies on the Royals' roster, hit his first major league home run in his sixth plate appearance — a solo shot that landed in the second row above the 18-foot wall in right-center with two outs in the fourth inning and trimmed the Angels' lead to 5-3.
Cabrera narrowed the gap to 5-4 in the fifth with an RBI single.
Wells led off the Angels' four-run second against Felipe Paulino with a single before Los Angeles loaded the bases with none out. Aybar then smacked a 1-2 pitch inside first base and down the line to clear the bases, and Maicer Izturis drove him in with a sacrifice fly.
Two of the runs were unearned, the result of a fielding error by Getz on a routine grounder to second by Callaspo.
The Royals got two back in the third, when Getz scored on a passed ball by Mathis and Escobar came home on Gordon's groundout.
But the Angels tacked on another unearned run in the bottom half, after Wells singled again and got to second on an errant pickoff throw by Paulino — the first error by any Royals pitcher since Jeremy Jeffress' wild pickoff throw on April 18 against Cleveland. Kendrick drove in Wells from third with an infield hit.
NOTES: The Angels came within one game of tying a dubious franchise record for consecutive games scoring three runs or fewer, which was set in September 1981. ... Paulino got a visit from pitching coach Bob McClure after the first five batters reached base in the second, then retired the next three — two on strikeouts. Pineiro got Hosmer to ground into an inning-ending double play in the fifth, after getting a visit from pitching coach Mike Butcher. ... Angels pitchers came out early to take batting practice in preparation for the team's first interleague road games — starting next Friday at Citi Field, where the Angels will play the Mets for the first time since 2008.