ANAHEIM, Calif. -- These aren't your father's Kansas City Royals
These Royals are young and hungry, they have speed, a little power and some nice arms. And if the first month and a half of the season is any indication, they could give the reigning American League Central champion Detroit Tigers a run for their money.
The Royals scored seven runs in the third inning and cruised to a 9-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels
Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.
Lorenzo Cain's bases-clearing three-run double was the big blow, and the Royals left town with a series victory, taking two of three on the first leg of their three-city, nine-game road trip.
The Royals spread the wealth, as every player in the starting lineup reached base in the game, and all but one -- Eric Hosmer -- had at least one hit. Alex Gordon led the way with three hits, Billy Butler had a two-run single and Salvador Perez had two hits and two RBIs.
"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. We worked a couple of walks, we found some holes. The ball I hit with the bases loaded, I didn't hit ridiculously hard. I just found a hole. It's where you put it and not how hard you hit it."
On the wrong end of most of those hits were Angels pitchers Barry Enright and reliever Mark Lowe. Enright (0-2) lasted only two-plus innings and gave up four runs. Lowe gave up four runs in just one inning of work. It was a 1-0 game to start the third, but the Royals sandwiched two walks around a single to load the bases against Enright, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia had seen enough.
"What really turned the tide with Barry tonight was the two walks in the third after being ahead in the count and giving it right back to those guys," Scioscia said. "It just didn't look like he could get the ball where he needed in some zones to get out of some stuff. It was an unfortunate start for him."
Enright said he would have liked the chance to get out of the jam.
"That's their decision; obviously it's not up to me," he said. "I felt I could have worked out of things but they felt they were doing what's best for the team."
Benefitting from all the offense was Royals starter Wade Davis (3-2), who gave up four runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings to earn the win, but not without a few tense moments. After the Angels knocked Davis out of the game in the sixth, they cut their deficit to 8-4 and had the bases loaded with Albert Pujols at the plate representing the tying run. But Royals reliever Aaron Crow retired Pujols on a grounder to third to end the threat.
"I definitely wanted to get ahead in the count and get some quick outs, but I fell behind a lot of hitters and threw too many pitches and kind of hindered the whole fact of me getting deep into the game," Davis said. "That's a good lineup, no matter how you look at it. They're going with their approach, taking pitches and not trying to do too much, which makes it tough. It's not like you're throwing meatburgers over the plate and they're not hitting them."
Mike Trout went 2-for-3 with a home run (No. 8), two runs scored, two RBIs and two walks for the Angels.
With the win, the Royals (20-17) moved within 1 1/2 games of first-place Detroit in the A.L. Central, while the Angels (15-25) fell a season-worst 11 games behind Texas in the A.L. West. It's their largest deficit 40 games into the season since 2001, when they were 12 games back.
NOTES: Angels RHP Ryan Madson will report to Class AAA Salt Lake Thursday to begin a rehab assignment. Madson said he feels he's ready to face major league hitters now, but manager Mike Scioscia said Madson needed a little extra time to "fine tune" some things. Madson's rehab assignment could last a week or two. ... Angels RHP Jered Weaver, who is recovering from a broken bone in his left (non-throwing) elbow, came out of Wednesday's 62-pitch bullpen session feeling fine. He is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Friday, then begin a rehab assignment next week. ... Royals 3B Mike Moustakas went 0-for-9 in the first two games of the series with the Angels, and was 0-for-18 overall heading into Wednesday's game, going back to hitting a home run last Friday against the Yankees. But Wednesday, he doubled in his first at-bat to snap the hitless streak. ... RHP Greg Holland is averaging 14.54 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, ranking sixth in the majors among pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched. Holland has converted seven of his nine save opportunities.
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