Moustakas had a broken-bat single in three at-bats, a critical hit during a two-run sixth inning, and the Royals beat the Los Angeles 4-2 on Friday night, the Angels sixth straight loss.
Trailing 2-0, the Angels threatened in the fourth when Hunter led off with a single, advanced on a deep flyball by Howie Kendrick(notes) and took third on Bobby Abreu’s(notes) groundout. Before Vernon Wells(notes) came up, Hunter had a brief conversation with Moustakas.
“When he got to third base, he congratulated me on being up here and later congratulated me on getting my first hit,” Moustakas said with a huge grin. “I mean, it was unreal. I’ve heard a lot of things about Torii Hunter and about how great of a person he is, and everything’s true.
“It really meant a lot, coming from a player like that who’s been in the league for so long and has the reputation he had,” Moustakas said. “It was really cool, standing there at third base thinking, `Hey, I’m talking to Torii Hunter right now.’ It was just crazy.”
Jeff Francis(notes) (3-6) survived a shaky sixth to get his first road victory of the season, left fielder Alex Gordon(notes) threw out a runner at home plate, and Kansas City got solo homers from Melky Cabrera(notes) and Billy Butler(notes).
The Royals have won consecutive games for the first time since May 19-20, and have clinched a season series from the Angels for only the second time in the last 15 years after taking five of seven in Kansas City.
Francis pitched 6 1-3 innings in his third start against the Halos this season, allowing two runs and eight hits after being staked to a 4-0 lead. The left-hander, who struck out three and walked one, hadn’t won a road game since beating Florida on July 20, 2010, while pitching for Colorado.
“I didn’t really change anything. I just tried to make an effort to throw more strikes and make them hit it,” Francis said. “The first guy struck out looking, and I just kept the aggressiveness going from there and kind of rolled through the first five. Anytime you get a win, it’s satisfying as a team—not only as an individual.”
“I think the situation dictated that, with the sixth inning I had,” Francis said. “It showed that they were kind of getting to it a little bit. So I wouldn’t say it was unexpected. But I’m not really following the pitch count during the game.”
Ervin Santana(notes) (3-6) allowed four runs, seven hits and a season-high five walks in seven innings and struck out five. The right-hander has given up two home runs in each of his last three starts, and five of his last seven.
The switch-hitting Cabrera, who came in 2 for 14 lifetime against Santana, drove an 0-2 pitch to right field for his ninth homer with one out in the first. Jeff Francoeur(notes) grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the third, but the Royals made it 2-0 in the fourth when Butler drove Santana’s first pitch of the inning to left field for his sixth home run.
After holding the Angels, to just two singles through five innings, Francis threw 24 pitches in the sixth as the Halos cut the margin to 4-2 with an RBI double by Howie Kendrick and a run-scoring single by Bobby Abreu—who entered that at-bat 0 for 14 lifetime against Francis with eight strikeouts. Abreu tried to score on a single by Erick Aybar(notes), but Gordon made a perfect one-hop throw to Brayan Pena(notes). Mark Trumbo(notes) popped up a fastball for the third out.
“That throw home was a game-changer,” Francis said. “It swung a lot of momentum. I got the next guy out and it’s still 4-2.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia had no problem with third base coach Dino Ebel waving Abreu home.
Moustakas, the second overall pick in the 2007 draft behind Tampa Bay Rays All-Star left-hander David Price(notes), was called up from Triple-A Omaha and started at third base. The 22-year-old Los Angeles native was drafted out of Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley.
Moustakas batted .287 with 10 home runs, 44 RBIs and a .347 on-base percentage in 55 games this season for Omaha. He was reunited with Eric Hosmer(notes), another left-handed hitter who was selected third overall in the 2008 draft— two spots ahead of San Francisco catcher Buster Posey(notes).
NOTES: Four of Butler’s seven career hits against Santana have been home runs. The Royals have hit 11 homers this season against the Angels, including game-ending drives—by Butler (June 1), Kila Ka’aihue(notes) (April 1) and Matt Treanor(notes) (April 3). … All six of the Royals’ top draft picks from 2004 through 2009 are currently on the 25-man roster—Butler, Gordon, Luke Hochevar(notes), Moustakas, Hosmer and Aaron Crow(notes).