KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—On the night he tied Bill Rigney’s record for most wins by a Los Angeles Angels manager, Mike Scioscia chose to believe his eyes and not his ears.
“Four-thirty-five? Were they measuring the height of it?” he said. “If that ball wasn’t 550, I don’t know what it was. That ball was crushed.”
Guerrero’s slam off Zack Greinke sent the surging Angels on their way to a 7-5 victory Tuesday night over the reeling Royals and gave Scioscia his 625th victory as the Angels’ skipper. It was the Angels’ 10th win in 12 games.
“If he didn’t get all of that one, I don’t know what we’re going to see,” Scioscia said. “He squared it up, there’s no doubt about that.”
Scioscia, working hard to play down his pending record, called it a reflection on the organization that owner Arte Moreno has built, and not to the credit of any one person.
“It speaks volumes for the stability that Arte’s brought,” he said. “Everyone from the whole organization, the minor leagues, the major league staff. These guys are terrific. We all share in that.”
The Royals, who became the first team ever to finish the month of April 10 games under .500 three straight years, lost for the seventh time in nine games. Their 8-19 record is the worst in the majors.
The first three Angels singled on Greinke’s first seven pitches to load the bases. Greinke quickly went to 3-0 on Guerrero. Then after a called strike, the seven-time All-Star sent the next pitch sailing far over the fence in left-center for his fifth grand slam.
Using a chart, the Royals public relations staff said the ball traveled 435 feet. It looked farther, but Guerrero refused to speculate. He did know it was not the longest he’s hit in his long career.
“All I know is it felt good coming off the bat. I hit it real well,” he said through an interpreter. “Whatever he was going to come up with, I was going to put a good swing on it.”
“Mike Hampton, Montreal, 1999, 502 feet,” he said.
Guerrero, whose two-run double in the first inning Monday night led the Angels to a 3-1 win, has driven in 27 runs in 25 games. The Royals walked him intentionally the next two times he came up, each time with a runner in scoring position.
“I hung a slider,” said Greinke. “Probably the worst thing I could have done. I was throwing good until then.”
Bartolo Colon (3-0) went five innings and gave up nine hits and five runs, with five strikeouts and one walk. His ERA went from 1.93 to 3.79. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances, and his fourth in four straight games.
Leadoff man Gary Matthews Jr. was 4-for-5 and scored three runs for the Angels, who have won 15 of their last 17 in Kauffman Stadium.
Greinke (1-3) gave up six runs and 10 hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked two.
“Today I got beat by not pitching smart. In the first inning, every time I threw a changeup, they hit it.”
The Royals pulled to within 5-4 on Mark Teahen’s three-run home run in the four-run third.
Just ahead of Teahen’s homer, Esteban German singled home Tony Pena Jr., who walked leading off the third. It was the seventh consecutive inning the Royals had put their leadoff runner on base, but the first time one had scored.
The Angels went up 5-0 when Matthews tripled and scored on Orlando Cabrera’s double. Casey Kotchman, after Guerrero was intentionally walked for the second straight time, hit a sacrifice fly for a 6-4 lead in the fourth.
German’s RBI single made it 6-5 in the bottom of the fourth. Reggie Willits had a career-best three hits and singled home the Angels’ seventh run in the eighth.
Billy Butler made his major league debut, starting in left field, and drew a big ovation when he singled in his first at-bat. He also singled in the eighth.
Matthews had a bruising night at third. The throw from the outfield hit him in the back as he was sliding into third in the first inning, then he was struck by the relay throw in almost the same spot while sliding into the bag with his triple. … Butler got another ovation when he made a fine play in left in the third. … Two more Royals were hit by pitches, raising their major league-leading total to 22.