Haren pitches Angels to 3-1 win over Royals
He was looking forward to his time in the car after earning his first victory as an Angel in Los Angeles’ 3-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
“It’s hard to win a game in the big leagues, but it’s not that hard,” Haren said. “I really wanted the team to win a game that I pitched. You kind of forget how to win a game. I’ll sleep a little better tonight.”
Rookie Peter Bourjos(notes) drove in the go-ahead run with a suicide squeeze bunt in the fifth inning for the Angels, who have won four of their last five after going 2-8 in their previous 10 games. Leadoff hitter Bobby Abreu(notes) went 2 for 2 with two walks and scored two runs.
Haren hardly overwhelmed the Royals, who weren’t familiar with the hitch in his pitching motion because he was in the National League most of the season.
“He mixed his speeds well. He was also throwing that sinker and cutter at the same speed, so that made it tough,” said Billy Butler(notes), who was 1 for 4. “He located it well and kept us off-balance. He was doing it with all four pitches. He has a good assortment of a split, slider, a cutter and a two-seamer.”
Haren (1-2) allowed five hits and one run in seven innings to win in his fourth start with the Angels, whom he joined on July 25 in a trade from Arizona. He struck out three and walked one for his first win since June 12 against St. Louis.
“I was kind of all over the place with everything,” he said.
“Dan struggled a little more than we’ve seen, but when he had to make a pitch he did,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “The one thing a pitcher can’t control is a win. If you don’t get support on the field and at the plate, it won’t turn into a win.”
Bryan Bullington(notes) (0-2) gave up five hits and three runs in six innings in his first start for the Royals this season and his first major league start since Sept. 28, 2008. He struck out four and walked one in the longest outing of his career.
“I wanted to come out and be aggressive and throw strikes, and I felt like I did that. I was able to make some pitches to get out of a couple of situations, but I missed a few spots,” he said. “I threw the slider for strikes when I needed to and I was able to get some swings and missed out of some, too.”
The Royals lost their third straight and sixth in eight games to drop into a last-place tie with Cleveland in the AL Central.
“We’re struggling for runs, but these things run their course, hopefully,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “All it takes is one big hit to get everybody going. They’re giving it all they have out there. Hopefully, we’ll get a couple of guys hot and get on a roll.”
The Angels snapped a 1-1 tie with two runs in the fifth. Howie Kendrick(notes) led off with a double to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He scored when Bourjos laid down a bunt in front of the plate with Kendrick running down the line. Catcher Jason Kendall(notes) swiped at the ball and reached back to tag out Kendrick as he came home, but Kendall never got the ball in his glove.
“It was a little slider I hit off the end of my bat,” Bourjos said. “We prepared for that all the time in the minors.”
NOTES: It was Haren’s first win in the American League since Sept. 22, 2007, against Cleveland. … His walk to Mitch Maier(notes) in the seventh ended a 12-inning streak without allowing a walk. … Bullington’s five previous appearances this season were all in relief. … The Royals fell to 9-10 in two-run games this season. … Kansas City has scored 16 runs while going 2-6 on its current trip, which comes out to a tad more than two runs a game. … Angels RF Torii Hunter(notes) returns from his four-game suspension in the series finale on Wednesday.
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