Angels 7, Royals 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—For someone who says he doesn’t try to hit home runs, Garret Anderson seems to have the perfect home run swing.
The Anaheim left fielder had difficulty hitting for power and average early in his big league career, but the last four years he’s put it all together.
“He threw two balls that were up and out over the plate, and I didn’t miss them or foul them off,” Anderson said. “Numerically, it’s probably been my best start, but it’s not over yet.”
Anderson, who got the biggest hit in Angels history when he stroked a tiebreaking, three-run double in Game 7 of the World Series last October, is hitting .313 with 21 homers and 76 RBIs this year. He’s heading to his second consecutive All-Star game.
“For a couple of years, my average wasn’t there. I mean, it was still respectable, but it wasn’t where I wanted it to be. So it’s always good when you can hit for average and be a threat to hit home runs,” said Anderson, who hit a career-high 35 homers three seasons ago and has reached the .300 mark three times.
“I’m not the kind of guy who walks to the plate thinking home run. But if you make a mistake, then I’ll hit a home run. I’m not in a class with guys like Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield. They’re special, in terms of bat speed.”
Both of Anderson’s homers came following two-out walks to Tim Salmon. Adam Kennedy also homered for the Angels, who took two of three from the AL Central-leading Royals and have won nine of 13 overall.
Anderson, in the lineup as the DH for the fifth time this year, opened the scoring in the first by driving an 0-2 pitch to right field.
In the sixth, George issued his third straight two-out walk to Salmon before Anderson drove a 3-2 pitch deep into the right-field seats. It chased the Kansas City left-hander and increased Anaheim’s lead to 5-1.
“He just made bad pitches, that’s all,” Royals manager Tony Pena said. “It seemed like he was a little too careful with Salmon. The best hitter they have is Anderson. This guy is one of the best hitters in baseball.”
Aaron Sele, still limited to five innings per start, won his third straight outing. He has allowed one run and nine hits over 15 innings since manager Mike Scioscia imposed his limit to make Sele pitch more aggressively in the early innings.
“He’s been pitching better,” Scioscia said. “That’s not to say that he wouldn’t have had the same results if we weren’t limiting him to five innings. But I do think that with him being able to go harder until he builds up his stamina, we’ll definitely try to see when a good time is to let him go out there and go as far as he can.”
Sele (6-6) has not allowed more than one hit in an inning during this stretch. The Royals got a run and four hits against him, with Angel Berroa leading off the fifth with a bloop single and scoring on a groundout by Aaron Guiel.
“I’m the kind of guy who likes to throw a lot of innings,” said Sele, who surpassed 200 innings in four of his previous five seasons. “In the long haul, maybe this has been the best thing. We’ll see by the end of the season how things shake out. But I haven’t really changed my approach.”
Salmon finally got a pitch to hit from reliever Brad Voyles in the seventh, lining it to left for an RBI single and Anaheim’s sixth run. Jose Molina completed the scoring in the eighth with an RBI single.
George allowed five runs, four hits and four walks in five-plus innings and did not strike out a batter, while his ERA ballooned to a season-worst 7.11. He has given up 20 earned runs, 21 hits and 13 walks over 15-plus innings in hislast three outings after winning his previous four starts.
Plate umpire Gerry Davis was replaced by second base umpire Lance Barksdale after taking a foul tip off his right thumb in the seventh. Davis had X-rays, which were negative. Angels trainer Ned Bergert did not expect Davis to miss any games. … George came one win short of tying the Royals’ record for most victories by a lefty before the All-Star break, shared by Larry Gura, Angels pitching coach Bud Black and Royals TV analyst Paul Splittorff. … Anderson’s two homers increased his career total as a DH to seven. He is 6-for-19 with seven RBIs in that role this year, and 56-for-171 with 32 RBIslifetime.