ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—After getting swept in a three-game series by the New York Yankees at the end of their homestand, the Kansas City Royals turned things around somewhat against the underachieving Los Angeles Angels.
Lorenzo Cain hit a three-run double and Billy Butler capped his most productive series of the season with a two-run single, leading the Royals to a 9-5 victory Wednesday night and helping them climb within 1 1-2 games of AL Central-leading Detroit. They won two of three from the Halos to record their second winning series on the road.
“It was huge, because we struggled with the Yankees. So coming in here and taking two from these guys was big for us,” Cain said. “Keeping those losing streaks down is definitely key throughout a long baseball season. So if we just continue to pitch the way we’ve been pitching and hit like we know how to hit, we’ll be fine. Now we’ve got the momentum swing going, and hopefully we’ll keep it going against Oakland.”
Wade Davis (3-3) was charged with four runs and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings.
Butler, who entered this series in a 4 for 35 rut, went 8 for 13 with a homer and nine RBIs—as many as he had in 103 at-bats over his previous 25 games. He was the top designated hitter in the league last season and won his first Silver Slugger Award with a .313 average. 29 homers and 107 RBIs.
“Billy doesn’t stay down for long,” manager Ned Yost said. “He had a great series, and once he heats up a little bit, he stays pretty consistent.”
Barry Enright (0-2) gave up four runs, five hits and two walks in two-plus innings, leaving with the bases loaded and none out in the Royals’ seven-run third.
“That’s their decision. Obviously it’s not up to me,” Enright said. “I felt I could have worked out of things but they felt they were doing what’s best for the team.”
The right-hander threw 47 pitches before he was replaced by Mark Lowe who gave up Butler’s two-run single, followed by a walk to Eric Hosmer and Cain’s bases-clearing double into the left field corner.
“He was wild at first, so I definitely wanted to wait until he threw me a strike,” Cain said. “On a 1-1 count, I was looking for that fastball up and he threw it right where I could do damage with it. I put a good swing on it and got it down the line.”
Cain scored on a passed ball by Chris Iannetta after advancing on an infield hit by Elliot Johnson and Jarrod Dyson capped the rally with an RBI triple to right-center. It was the Royals’ most productive inning since Aug. 20, 2011, when they plated eight runs in the sixth.
“We’re just trying to play good baseball and move in the right direction, and we feel like we did by winning the series,” Butler said. “Tonight we made the pitcher come to us. We swung at the pitches we wanted to and we had good results.”
The Angels started chipping away with an RBI single by Albert Pujols in the bottom of the third and a run-scoring single by Iannetta in the fourth, trimming the deficit to 8-2. They loaded the bases later that inning, but Davis retired Erick Aybar on an inning-ending double-play grounder after walking No.9 hitter J.B. Shuck
The Halos got to the Royals’ bullpen in the sixth and sliced Kansas City’s lead to 8-4 with Alberto Callaspo’s sacrifice fly and Aaron Crow’s bases-loaded walk to Mike Trout But Pujols followed with a rally-killing groundout to third base. The Angels ended up stranding 11 baserunners.
“We were swimming upstream from the beginning, but we kept firing on the offensive side,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I thought our at-bats were good, we took some walks when they were there. But we couldn’t get the one big hit with runners in scoring position to get us back close and give us a chance to take a lead.”
Trout made the final outcome a little more respectable with his eighth home run, a solo shot to center field in the eighth against hard-throwing right-hander Kelvin Herrera Dyson scaled the thinly-padded fence on a ball he had no chance to catch and sprained his right ankle, forcing him out of the game.
Mike Moustakas doubled with two out in the Royals’ second, ending an 0 for 18 drought going back to his home run off the Yankees’ Phil Hughes last Friday. Salvador Perez drove him in with a ground-rule double into the right field corner that barely eluded Josh Hamilton’s diving attempt.
NOTES: Fred White, who broadcast Royals games on radio for 25 seasons beginning in 1973 and remained with the organization in several capacities, died Wednesday in a hospice at age 76 due to complications from melanoma—just one day after the club announced his retirement as director of broadcast services and the Royals Alumni. White was behind the mike at the “Big A” on Sept. 30, 1992, when George Brett got his 3,000th hit.