Buckner pitches in to Angels' winning streak

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Billy Buckner continued the string of strong starting pitching for the Los Angeles Angels.
The Angels extended their winning streak to a season-high seven games by shutting out the Kansas City Royals, 7-0, on Saturday. The rotation has a 1.76 earned run average in the winning streak.
"Winning is contagious," Buckner said.
Josh Hamilton and Hank Conger hit solo home runs, and Mike Trout scored twice, the fifth consecutive game in which he has scored two runs.
Buckner, who had not pitched in the big leagues since 2010 with Arizona, limited the Royals to two hits over five scoreless innings. A 2004 second-round pick of the Royals out of South Carolina, he had not pitched since May 11 for Class AAA Salt Lake.
"All I wanted to do was be aggressive in the bottom of the zone and let my defense play behind me and do their thing," Buckner said. "I felt pretty good in the bullpen and I just wanted to carry that into the game.
"I kind of felt my groove early in the bullpen, so that allowed me to feel better about things in the game."
Buckner became the 10th starting pitcher used by the Angels in 49 games after they utilized only eight last season. Bucker was the 21st pitcher the Angels have sent to the mound in 2013.
"Four out of the five pitchers we used today were not on the opening day roster," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Conger led off the sixth with his second home run of the season, the first hit off Jeremy Guthrie, who took the loss. Hamilton hit his seventh home run in the seventh.
The Angels put the game away with a four-run eighth to chase Guthrie (5-3). The inning included Mark Trumbo's two-run single. Trout and Howie Kendrick contributed RBI singles.
After starting the season 5-0, Guthrie has lost his last three starts. He gave up seven runs, six earned, on five hits, two hit batters and a walk in 7 1/3 innings.
Trout scored the first Angels' run in the fourth, drawing a walk, stealing second and taking third on a throwing error by catcher George Kottaras before scoring on a groundout by Albert Pujols.
The Royals grounded into two double plays and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
Royals second baseman Chris Getz was ejected in the sixth inning by first base umpire Mike Everitt after he thought he was safe when he grounded into a double play.
"It was some frustration, and maybe a little bit of carryover from last night," Getz said. "It was a close play at first. He saw it one way and I saw it another.
"I said some things he didn't like and he tossed me. I got some opinions on what they thought was the result of the play and I was saying some things to him."
The Royals have lost 15-of-19 games to tumble to a season-worst four-games below .500. The Royals were shut out for the third time this season.
"Offensively, we have to pick up the pace," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "There is not one magical thing that we can do to change things."
NOTES: C Salvador Perez was placed on the bereavement list by the Royals after the game Saturday. They promoted C Adam Moore from Class AAA Omaha. ... The Angels are optimistic that RHP Jered Weaver, who has missed 43 games because of a broken left arm, will be able to pitch Thursday against the Dodgers or for the weekend series against Houston. ... RHP Kevin Jepsen, who is on the disabled list because of a strained right shoulder, pitched a scoreless inning Friday on a minor league rehab assignment with Class AAA Salt Lake and the Angels could activate him this week. ... Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland was in Florida to attend his daughter's confirmation and will return Monday. Bullpen coach Doug Henry is filling in for Eiland. Minor league pitching coordinator Steve Foster, who was the bullpen coach the past two years, will serve as the bullpen coach for the final two games of the Angels series.

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