Hochevar struggles as Royals fall to Angels
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Kansas City was able to get Jered Weaver’s pitch count up high enough to get him out of the game after five innings. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Angels scored enough against Luke Hochevar and the bullpen to make a late rally by the Royals impossible.
Weaver won his seventh straight start to tie a career-best, Torii Hunter went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBI, and the Angels also got home runs from Mike Trout and Bobby Wilson in an 11-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
Hochevar (6-9) was ejected in the fourth inning by plate umpire Bob Davidson after hitting Trout — immediately following a leadoff homer by Wilson that gave the Angels an 8-0 lead. That didn’t sit well with manager Ned Yost, who argued with Davidson while Everett Teaford came in from the bullpen.
“He thought I hit Trout because I gave up the home run, but I’m not that type of player. And I’m not going to just start drilling guys out of frustration,” Hochevar said. “I don’t do that. I’m pitching the guy in, and one gets away and hits him. But he made his call, and it is what it is.”
The right-hander was charged with eight runs — six earned — and nine hits in his three-plus innings, along with two wild pitches. Hochevar was 3-1 with a 2.50 ERA over his previous six starts, a stretch that began with back-to-back scoreless outings — including a shutout against Tampa Bay.
“It was just poor execution. My breaking stuff was up and hanging, and they put some good swings on it,” Hochevar said. “My whole focus is executing quality pitches. And when you don’t execute, this is what happens. I’ve just got to make better pitches. That’s the bottom line.”
Hochevar gave up singles to his first three batters, all of whom scored. Trout, whose franchise-record run-scoring streak ended at 15 games Tuesday, came home on a wild pitch to Mark Trumbo. Hunter scored on a groundout by Kendrys Morales, and former Royal Alberto Callaspo delivered Trumbo with the first of his two doubles.
The Angels parlayed two Kansas City errors into three more runs in the second inning despite getting only one ball out of the infield. Hunter hit a two-run single after a fielding error by first baseman Eric Hosmer on Wilson’s sacrifice bunt and a throwing error to first by third baseman Mike Moustakas on a potential double-play grounder by Trout. Hunter scored the Halos’ sixth run on a dribbler Hochevar fielded to the right of the mound before getting the out at first.
“We don’t play sloppy very often, but we did today in the first two innings. That’s for sure,” Yost said. “It was a day where Hoch didn’t have his good stuff, and they were on him the whole time. Over the course of 162 games, you’re bound to have a few of these. At least we rebounded after the second inning and played pretty decent baseball from that point on.”
Weaver (13-1) threw 101 pitches over five innings, allowing two runs and three hits while his AL-leading ERA rose from 2.20 to 2.27 because of Billy Butler’s two-run homer in the fifth.
“If you can get two runs off of Weaver and get him out after the fifth inning, you’ve done a real good job. We did both of those things, but the score was lopsided by then,” Yost said. “We did exactly what we wanted to do with Weaver. He’s a guy who’s got great command, never gives in and throws the ball off the corners trying to get you to swing at it. But we did a good job of taking those pitches.”
Weaver, who had hit only one batter in 110 2/3 innings this season coming into the game, plunked Lorenzo Cain his first two times up. Cain, who homered Tuesday night in Kansas City’s 4-1 win, hadn’t been hit in his previous 217 plate appearances since Aug. 12, 2010, when he was with Milwaukee and Rodrigo Lopez of the Arizona Diamondbacks got him.
“I’m not one to go out there and hit people, obviously,” Weaver said. “Look at my career, I think I hit one or two guys a year. The command was just not there today. It was just one of those days where I couldn’t find the release point and was a little erratic. Luckily I got away with some pitches that they swung through.”
Weaver’s only loss was at Texas on May 13, when he pitched 3 1/3 innings and gave up eight runs to equal a career high. The All-Star right-hander is 16-2 with a 1.53 ERA in 24 starts at Angel Stadium since the beginning of last season, including a no-hitter May 2 against Minnesota, and has yielded only six earned runs over 58 2/3 innings at the “Big A” this year.
Butler’s 20th homer came after the Angels had staked Weaver to an 8-0 lead. Jeff Francoeur added a three-run shot in the eighth against Scott Downs to snap an 0-for-15 drought and slice the margin to 8-5, but Trout and Hunter homered back-to-back in the bottom half against Luis Coleman.
The Angels won without slugger Albert Pujols, who missed his second game of the season because of a bruised right elbow less than 24 hours after getting hit by a pitch he swung at from Will Smith.
Notes: Hochevar has hit eight batters this season, tying his career high from 2009. ... Butler is one homer away from equaling his career-high total from 2009. ... Moustakas led off the Royals’ second inning with a towering flyball to right field, where Trumbo lost the ball in the sun as it fell behind him for a double. ... Weaver has a 1.74 ERA during his winning streak — his longest since 2006, when he won his first seven big league starts with a 1.15 ERA.
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