Angels 3, Royals 0

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Creeping closer to Oakland in the AL West was no longer uppermost on the mind of Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

Just after Kelvim Escobar and two relievers led Los Angeles over the Kansas City Royals 3-0 Wednesday night, Scioscia learned that Royals manager Buddy Bell was taking a medical leave. The Royals announced in the top of the ninth that doctors had detected a growth near their manager’s left tonsil.

“Is he really? Oh, man,” Scioscia said.

He was handed the brief news release and read it hurriedly.

“I’ll call him,” Scioscia said.

Bell will seek a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona on Thursday and be replaced by bench coach Billy Doran.

“It’s just something they found and I’ve got to take care of it,” said Bell, who managed the entire game. “This is tough for me to leave at this point. But it’s something I’ve to do and it’s life and you deal with it.”

Orlando Cabrera drove in three runs for Los Angeles, which remained 6 1/2 games back of AL West-leading Oakland with 10 games remaining. The Angels won for the 12th time in 17 games and next play Friday at Oakland—one of seven games that remain against the Athletics.

“This is it,” said Escobar (11-13), who allowed four hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked one. “We have to make a statement. We have to win. That’s the team we’re chasing, and we have an opportunity to get close to them.”

Scot Shields pitched a hitless eighth, stranding a runner at third when Mike Sweeney grounded out.

Francisco Rodriguez finished the five-hitter for his major league-leading 44th save in 48 chances. Kansas City loaded the bases when Ryan Shealy reached on a wild pitch as he struck out leading off, Angel Berroa walked with one out and Paul Bako singled. But Jeff Keppinger fouled out and Joey Gathright struck out.

Odalis Perez (2-4) gave up one run and six hits in seven innings.

After three games at Oakland, the Angels close out their regular season at home with three against Texas and four against the A’s.

“We need to continue winning,” Scioscia said. “That’s the bottom line. There’s no sense to worry about where we’re playing or who we’re playing. We need to win.”

Kansas City (58-94), already assured of its third straight last-place finish in the AL Central, must win five of its last 10 games to avoid its fourth 100-loss season in five years. The Royals were shut out for the 11th time, second in the AL behind Minnesota’s 13.

Royals left fielder David DeJesus left in the fifth inning after injuring his right thumb. He was hurt sliding into second with a double in the third inning.

Cabrera hit an RBI double in the third, then had a two-run double in the ninth off Joe Nelson.

Angels center fielder Chone Figgins made an outstanding catch of Emil Brown’s drive into deep right-center with one out and none on in the eighth, preventing an extra-base hit

“There’s no room for anything but good baseball,” Scioscia said. “That’s what we need to bring every day. We’ve just got to win.”

Then as everyone filed out and left him alone in his office, he picked up the news release and read it again.

Notes:

The Angels improved to 246-246 against the Royals. … SS Maicer Izturis was held out of the Angels lineup with stiffness in a hamstring. Scioscia said he was trying to get him back to full strength for the series at Oakland. … The Royals have signed a two-year player development contract with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, making the Blue Rocks their new Class-A advanced affiliate. The Blue Rocks were the Royals’ Class-A advanced affiliate from 1993-2004. … Figgins was thrown out trying to swipe second base in the fifth, the 16th time in 64 chances he was caught stealing.

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