Royals 12, Angels 4
Billy Butler, John Buck and Alex Gordon homered to snap Kansas City’s six-game home run drought, and the Royals took advantage of two throwing errors by third baseman Chone Figgins in a 12-4 rout of the AL West leaders on Tuesday night.
The Royals, with the worst record in the league (32-46), have won the first two in a three-game set after Los Angeles matched a franchise record by winning nine consecutive series. The Angels hadn’t dropped a series since last month, when defending AL champion Detroit took two of three from them.
“Everything that team does is above average, so it’s nice to come in here and win the first two,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “That’s about as clean a game as we can play, from every aspect. If you looked at our team out there tonight, we don’t have a lot of experience, but the way we swung the bats tonight was encouraging.”
Gil Meche (5-6) won his second consecutive decision after going 0-5 with a 5.73 ERA in his previous five starts. The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings and struck out six while improving to 7-2 against the Angels and 6-1 in Anaheim.
“You can’t explain why you pitch good against some teams and some teams you don’t,” said Meche, whose 17 career starts against the Angels are the most he’s had against any team.
“Yeah, I do know those guys pretty well, having been in Seattle. I kept the ball down a lot better and my curveball was good. It’s been a pitch that I’ve been able to go to lately for a punchout. I located some real good pitches down and away and stayed in there as long as I could.”
Ervin Santana (5-8) gave up seven runs—five earned—and nine hits in five-plus innings. It was the first time in 72 career regular-season starts that the 24-year-old right-hander failed to strike out a batter.
“His command was off, and I thought he paced himself a little bit too much,” pitching coach Mike Butcher said. “I can’t tell you why he didn’t strike out any batters. Physically he looks fine. I’d like to see him be more aggressive from the first pitch to the last one. They had a pretty good approach tonight and they put the ball in play.”
The Royals grabbed a 5-1 lead with four runs in the fifth. Joey Gathright led off with a double and Santana hit David DeJesus on the right foot with a pitch. Figgins fielded Esteban German’s sacrifice bunt, but his throw to first base drifted into the runner and off the glove of second baseman Howie Kendrick, allowing Gathright to score the go-ahead run.
“We capitalized on a lot of their mistakes tonight, we got some key hits and it led to a lot of runs for us,” Meche said. “Our team is swinging the bat well. Some of the guys that were struggling early on are coming through big-time and we’ve been doing the little things.”
Mark Teahen followed with an RBI double, German scored on a wild pitch and Gordon capped the rally with an RBI single.
Jose Molina’s RBI double cut Kansas City’s lead to 5-2 in the bottom half, but the Royals extended the margin to 7-2 in the sixth on Buck’s 14th homer and Tony Pena’s sacrifice fly after Figgins made another bad throw to first on a bunt by Gathright.
“We cracked the door open for them way too many times,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Butler hit his first big league homer in the fourth, ending Kansas City’s 71-inning homerless drought, and was able to get the ball back thanks to a helpful Angel Stadium employee.
“It’s something that means a lot. Hopefully I’ll hit more,” Butler said. “I’m just trying to show them what I can do at the plate and see if I can contribute every game in some way to help the team win.”
Gordon added his sixth of the season, a three-run shot off Darren Oliver to cap a five-run eighth. That gave Gordon a career-high four RBIs.
The Royals try for their first three-game sweep of the season Wednesday, with Jorge De La Rosa facing Jered Weaver. Their last one was at Detroit, in the final three games of the 2006 regular season. … Santana, who led the Angels with 16 wins last year, hasn’t won consecutive starts this season. … Gathright was shaken up briefly in a home plate collision with Molina in the sixth. He felt even worse when third base umpire Bob Davidson called him out on an appeal play for leaving the bag too early after Emil Brown’s fly to right. … Buck threw out Figgins at third base on the front end of an attempted double steal in the first. … Kansas City batters have been plunked a major league-high 48 times, including German in the sixth by Chris Bootcheck.