Angels rally to 4-3 win over Royals

Chris Iannetta
Angels catcher Chris Iannetta pumps his fist after hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning of the Angels’ 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.
(Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

KEY MOMENT: The Royals led, 3-1, with two out in the seventh inning. The Angels had runners on second and third but, even with the open base, the Royals elected to pitch to Albert Pujols. Kelvin Herrera got two quick strikes, with Pujols late on a 99-mph fastball and then a 100-mph fastball. Herrera then tried an 80-mph curve, and he hit Pujols on the left hand. David Freese followed with a two-run single and the Angels had tied the score, 3-3. Pujols is batting .153 with runners in scoring position this season, with two home runs and five double plays in 59 at-bats. He has the most at-bats with runners in scoring position of any Angels player this season.

AT THE PLATE: Chris Iannetta hit the game-winning home run, a shot that ended a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning. Iannetta is on pace to hit 17 home runs, which would be one shy of his career high. He has five this season, third on the team behind Pujols and Mike Trout. “Two decent names to be around,” Iannetta said. He has had four seasons in which he has had at least 300 plate appearances, and he has reached double digits in home runs in all of them.

ON THE MOUND: Garrett Richards gave up three runs in the third inning, which included a walk, a balk, an error, a wild pitch and a bloop double. He had made 64 pitches by then, and a short outing appeared likely. But Richards righted himself, lasting through the seventh inning and retiring 12 of the final 13 batters he faced. Ernesto Frieri worked the ninth for his first save since May 13. Frieri has given up one run and four hits in his last 12 appearances, with one walk and 15 strikeouts, but Manager Mike Scioscia said Frieri and Joe Smith would continue to share the closer role.

HAMILTON SETBACK: Josh Hamilton sat out the third consecutive game of his minor league rehabilitation assignment because of discomfort in his surgically repaired left thumb. Scioscia said Hamilton would be evaluated by the Angels’ medical staff in Washington this week, with the Angels playing in Seattle and their triple-A Salt Lake team playing in nearby Tacoma. Hamilton, who had hoped to rejoin the Angels lineup Monday, has played only one game with Salt Lake.


OUTFIELD SLUMP: Kole Calhoun, who was 11 for 22 on his rehabilitation assignment, is 0 for 13 since rejoining the Angels. Collin Cowgill, who has filled in admirably amid injuries to Calhoun and Hamilton, has two hits in his last 21 at-bats and has one extra-base hit since April 27. Cowgill did make two splendid defensive plays to catch foul pops down the left-field line Sunday, sliding into the wall on one and nearly sliding into a folding chair on the other, when the ball boy got out of the way of the ball but failed to take the chair with him.

ROSTER MOVE: Matt Shoemaker had a 2.81 earned-run average in three starts, but the Angels sent him to Salt Lake and called up left-hander Wade LeBlanc. The Angels said they needed a fresh arm in the bullpen after Saturday night’s 13-inning game, and Scioscia said he told Shoemaker to be ready “for when you go back in our rotation, which will happen.” LeBlanc was not needed Sunday, making him the logical choice to start Thursday in what would have been Shoemaker’s spot, against the Seattle Mariners. LeBlanc, 29, is 5-1 with a 3.69 ERA at Salt Lake. He was 0-5 with a 6.11 ERA in seven starts for the Miami Marlins last season.

UP NEXT: The Angels’ Tyler Skaggs (4-1, 4.14 ERA) faces the Seattle Mariners’ Chris Young (3-2, 3.53) on Monday at 7:10 p.m. PDT at Safeco Field. TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 1330.

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