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Angels do good work at the plate in win over the Royals, 9-4

Angels do good work at the plate in win over the Royals, 9-4
Johnny Giavotella (12) is met by C.J. Cron (24), and Carlos Perez (58) after hitting a three-run home run against the Royals during the fifth inning of a game on April 26. (Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

Mike Trout had not recorded a hit with a runner in scoring position all month. Johnny Giavotella had not notched an extra-base hit. The Angels had not scored more than seven runs.

They did all of them Tuesday night, in their best offensive performance of 2016, a 9-4 win over Kansas City at Angel Stadium in which they reached base 19 times.

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"We pressured them, we set the table, and we got big hits with runners in scoring position," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Those are all good indicators."

The game began inauspiciously, with Jered Weaver's lightly paced fastballs traveling great distances, but Weaver (3-0) managed to hold the Royals to the four runs despite serving up seven extra-base hits in six innings.

The Royals hit three of Weaver's first-inning fastballs at least 370 feet; only one, by Mike Moustakas, left the ballpark.

In the Angels' half of the first, Pujols fouled a 3-2 pitch from Royals starter Edinson Volquez off his left shin. Trainer Adam Nevala ran out from the dugout. Pujols stayed in, and two pitches later, he was aboard after a nine-pitch walk to load the bases with one out.

The Angels wasted that chance when Kole Calhoun and Andrelton Simmons were retired.

They loaded the bases again in the second, but this time scored a run when Rafael Ortega grounded out to first base. Up next, Trout came through with a single to right to score two more.

The hit was Trout's first in 17 plate appearances with runners in scoring position this season. He had been 0 for 12 with three walks and a sacrifice fly. It was also Trout's third hit off the first pitch of an at-bat this season, in four times putting the ball into play. Last year, he had only five hits in 26 instances.

Trout later worked an 11-pitch walk. In between, he struck out swinging twice on darting Volquez changeups.

With the Angels trailing by a run, Pujols began the fifth inning with a ground-ball single to center field. He advanced to second on a Simmons single, and third on a C.J. Cron single, overrunning the base and falling hard onto his knees as a means of stopping. That time, he waved off Nevala.

Catcher Carlos Perez, carrying a .159 average into the game, plopped a single into center to score two and push the Angels ahead. And then Giavotella approached the plate.

The second baseman has already lost his steady starting spot this season. He had only seven singles in 46 prior at-bats and an on-base-plus-slugging around .300. The Royals are his former team, the organization that drafted him eight years ago, developed him, and then gave up on him and traded him to the Angels 17 months ago for a pitcher who last threw in the Mexican League.

Giavotella seized the second offering from Volquez and powered it 393 feet into the bullpen for a three-run home run. Two innings later, Giavotella doubled and belly-flopped into home on Yunel Escobar's subsequent single plus an error.

"It was fun to see him excited," Weaver said.

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It was what the Angels have hoped to see from Giavotella since the season's start.

"His pitch selection was a bit too aggressive early," Scioscia said. "He was swinging at a lot of pitchers' pitches. But he turned it around tonight, for sure."

Weaver repeatedly ran into trouble early. He allowed two doubles and a walk for a run in the second inning, a walk and a single to lead off the third, and three doubles in the fourth.

The 33-year-old hit 85 mph with his fastball five times and 86 once. He has not yet surpassed 86 this season, but his earned-run average is 3.86, and the Angels are 3-1 in his starts.

"Weav, at times, showed flashes of a good fastball," Scioscia said. "But it just didn't seem like he was commanding counts like he usually does."

Leading off the second, Simmons collided with third baseman Escobar in pursuit of a popup to short left field. Neither man caught it, but left fielder Ortega did.

Simmons then ended the eighth inning with a near-blind basket catch as he ran into the outfield facing away from the plate, earning a mass of applause from the crowd of 34,428.

"He just keeps making one play after another, and they just keep getting better and better," Scioscia said.

Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter @pedromoura

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