Now that the Los Angeles Angels are back in the AL West division race, they’ll turn to the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner to help keep them from losing any more ground.
Los Angeles (48-47) lost the series opener 9-4 on Thursday, and has lost consecutive games after a season-high eight-game winning streak. The Angels picked up 5 1/2 games in the standings during their winning streak to close within two games of first-place Oakland.
Los Angeles looked sloppy in Thursday’s loss as starting pitcher Ervin Santana walked a career-high eight in 4 1-3 innings, and the team committed four errors to bring their American League-leading total to 77.
“Crumple this one up and throw it away,” Angles manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’ve been playing great baseball, and tonight is really something you wouldn’t have expected. But it happens. So you move forward. We’ve been playing very fundamentally sound baseball, aggressive baseball, for a long time now, and this game we’re just going to turn the page on.”
Colon (1-4, 4.56 ERA) missed two months due to right shoulder inflammation, and is finally starting to look like last season’s AL Cy Young winner.
The right-hander is 1-0 while allowing three runs in 15 innings over his last two starts after going 0-2 with a 4.87 ERA in his first three games off the disabled list.
Colon, who went 21-8 last season, gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings of a 7-5 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday, but did not factor in the decision.
Colon is 13-6 with a 4.75 ERA in 22 career games against the Royals (33-62), and is 5-3 with a 4.98 ERA in 11 games at Kauffman Stadium. He is 6-1 with a 4.01 ERA in his last seven starts against them, and has won his last three starts at Kansas City.
Los Angeles is 13-3 in July, and has not lost three consecutive games since June 27-30.
Vladimir Guerrero had a two-run double and finished with three RBIs. The Angels right fielder is batting .571 (16-for-28) with two homers and 14 RBIs in seven games since the All-Star break.
The Royals’ two runs in the first inning of Thursday’s game ended a 21-inning scoreless streak.
Leadoff hitter David DeJesus went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs as Kansas City snapped a three-game losing streak. The Royals have won just two of their last 10 games.
Runelvys Hernandez (1-4, 7.44) will make his first start in nearly two months Friday when he takes the mound.
Hernandez, who was recalled from Triple-A Omaha, allowed five runs and six hits in a career-low two-thirds of an inning May 28 in a 6-5 loss to the New York Yankees.
“We need a pitcher and he’s the guy,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “He has the recommendation of a lot of people, first of all our Triple-A staff, who I have a tremendous amount of confidence in.”
The right-hander is 0-4 with a 9.12 ERA in his last six starts, and hasn’t won since April 26.
Hernandez has allowed 12 runs and 18 hits in 11 1-3 innings in two career games—both losses—to the Angels.