Angels 7, Royals 5

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Bartolo Colon knew he had to work harder than usual against the Kansas City Royals.

“They’re a young, aggressive group,” Colon said. “I found out early that they were going to come out hacking.”

Colon was up to the task, winning his sixth straight start and leading the Anaheim Angels to a 7-5 victory Saturday night.

“They did a good job of putting the ball in play,” Colon said. “I felt like my stuff was as good as ever, but you have to give them a lot of credit. They made me work. They made some good contact.”

Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia was impressed with Colon’s effort.

“His stuff looked great, as good as it has in the last month,” Scioscia said. “The guys in their lineup are better hitters than their offense has shown. They have some good hitters, some real young, aggressive hitters.

“That’s a tough lineup to get through. When push came to shove, Bart made some terrific pitches. It just took him a lot of work to get through the six innings.”

Colon (11-8) gave up four runs and eight hits, and struck out seven. The Angels have won six of their last eight to move within 1 1/2 games of first-place Oakland and a half-game of second-place Texas in the AL West.

Troy Percival pitched out of a jam in the ninth for his 20th save in 25 chances, making him the sixth pitcher with nine straight seasons of 20 or more saves. With runners on first and second and one out, Percival got Mike Sweeney to ground into a game-ending double play in a close play at first.

“They had some quality guys who put good some good swings on the ball,” Percival said. “I didn’t really plan on getting to Mike in that situation, because he’s such a good clutch hitter.

“He gave me a heck of a battle. I was fortunate to throw a good pitch at the right time. It was a breaking ball. I was trying to throw it down-middle, so he couldn’t flare it the other way. I threw the pitch I was trying to throw. If he had beaten me, I would have tipped my hat, but on that particular one, I got the best of him.”

Darin Erstad was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including the two-run double that gave the Angels the lead for good.

With the score tied at 4 in the seventh, Dennys Reyes (3-5) walked Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero to lead off the inning. The runners advanced on a double steal before Garret Anderson struck out.

After Jose Guillen was walked intentionally, Erstad followed with a double to the gap in left-center.

“We came back to tie the game and I just blew it right there,” Reyes said of his pitch to Erstad. “On an 0-2 count, there’s no way you can lose a game like that.”

Robb Quinlan then hit a sharp one-hopper to Joe Randa at third, who lunged at Erstad, who was ruled out of the baseline. Guillen scored on the play.

The Royals got a run in the eighth on back-to-back doubles off Scot Shields by Sweeney and Ken Harvey. Relaford then walked with one out, and one out later, Guerrero made a diving catch in right-center field that may have preserved the lead.

“That was a heck of a play,” Shields said. “I didn’t think there was any chance of him getting to it. He really laid out for it. He put his body on the line for it. That saved the game.

“Every night, there’s something that that guy does that amazes you.”

Reyes gave up three runs and two hits, and walked three and struck out three for Kansas City.

Jimmy Serrano lasted 4 2-3 innings in his major league debut for Kansas City. He gave up four runs on seven hits, and struck out three and walked three in the no-decision.

Anaheim took a 1-0 lead in the second against Serrano. Anderson led off with a double, moved to second on a groundout by Guillen, then scored on Erstad’s groundout. Kansas City had its infield drawn in, and the hard grounder was fielded by second baseman Ruben Gotay, but Anderson was far enough down the line that Gotay had to throw to first.

Kansas City answered with two runs in their half of the second. Harvey led off with a single and Abraham Nunez followed with a double to right-center. After Desi Relaford struck out, Dee Brown singled to right, scoring both runners.

The Royals scored another run in the third on a two-out RBI double by Sweeney.

In the fifth, David Eckstein and Figgins got back-to-back one-out singles, and Eckstein scored on a sacrifice fly by Guerrero. After Anderson walked, Guillen drove in both runners with a double.

The Royals tied it at 4 in the sixth when Harvey led off with a double, advanced to third on Nunez’s groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Relaford.

Notes

Quinlan extended his hitting streak to 18 games, adding to his own club record for rookies. … Guillen has hit in 20 of his last 23 games, and is hitting .341 (28-for-82) since the All-Star break. … Nunez went 2-for-4 and improved to .350 (7-for-20) in his six games with the Royals.

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