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Iannetta's HR sends Angels past Royals

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- No early lead? No problem for the Los Angeles Angels.

Catcher Chris Iannetta hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Angels a 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday at Angel Stadium.

Los Angeles had to recover from a 3-0 deficit to earn its 15th come-from-behind victory this season. The Angels are now seven games over .500 after 49 games -- a six-game improvement from the same point last year.

"Our goal, obviously, from the start of the season was to win games," Angels left fielder Collin Cowgill said. "Now, this team believes it. We're just confident. We expect to win and we're going to keep doing it."

Iannetta pounded a 2-1 fastball from left-handed reliever Tim Collins (0-3) down the left-field line.

Kansas City put the potential tying run in scoring position in the top of the ninth against right-handed closer Ernesto Frieri. Catcher Salvador Perez hit a one-out double and was replaced by pinch runner Nori Aoki, who moved to third base when right fielder Lorenzo Cain flied out.

But Frieri made shortstop Alcides Escobar pop out to end the game and earn his 13th save.

Right-hander Michael Kohn (2-1) permitted one walk in his inning of relief. Frieri struck out one of the four batters he faced.

The Angels forced a 3-3 tie with a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Center fielder Mike Trout hit a run-scoring double and third baseman David Freese lined a two-run single that tied the score.

Designated hitter Albert Pujols, who moved to second base on Freese's single, tried to score on first baseman C.J. Cron's line-drive single. But Cain threw Pujols out at the plate.

Before the Angels' rally, left-hander Jason Vargas stifled his former teammates. Vargas conceded just two hits in six innings, and left the game allowing three hits, five walks and one run while striking out six in 6 1/3 innings

The Royals took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third by exploiting four hits, a walk, a stolen base and a balk against right-hander Garrett Richards.

Third baseman Jimmy Paredes singled up the middle for the Royals' first hit. Paredes moved to second base on a balk and scored when second baseman Pedro Ciriaco blooped a double into short right field.

Ciriaco went to third on an infield hit from center fielder Jarrod Dyson and came home on first baseman Eric Hosmer's sacrifice fly. Collin Cowgill slid on his left leg to make a one-handed catch of Hosmer's fly ball inside the left-field foul line.

"It was a phenomenal catch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We got the second out and almost made the play at the plate. The play minimized some damage."

After Dyson stole second, left fielder Alex Gordon lined a single to center field to bring Dyson home and send designated hitter Billy Butler, who walked, to second base. Both advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. But Richards ended the rally by inducing Perez to ground out, then retired 12 of the final 13 batters he faced.

"Another big two-out hit and we would've been up 5-0 at that point," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You still have to find ways to tack on a run or two."

NOTES: Kansas City OF Nori Aoki was not in Sunday's lineup because of a sore right elbow. Aoki, who was hit by left-hander C.J. Wilson on Friday night, entered Sunday's game as a pinch runner in the ninth inning. ... Royals 3B Danny Valencia is day-to-day with a strained tendon in his left hand. ... Kansas City recalled RHP Michael Marriot from Triple-A Omaha on Sunday and optioned C Francisco Pena to the minor league team. ... Los Angeles 2B Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to 10 games, tying him with1B Albert Pujols for the team's longest this year. ... The Angels optioned RHP Matt Shoemaker to Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday and recalled LHP Wade LeBlanc, a six-year veteran of the major leagues. ... The Angels entered the game averaging 4.9 runs per game -- third in the major leagues.

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