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Angels fall to Royals, 4-2, for their sixth loss in a row

Few have had an easier job lately than whoever works the scoreboard at Angels games.

It’s mostly been a do-nothing gig in which they have to pay attention to only half the game — that is, whenever the Angels’ opponents are up to bat.

After all, entering Friday’s game against Kansas City, the Angels had scored just 13 runs this month, worst in the major leagues.

Their June gloom continued as the Royals beat them, 4-2, before 38,254 at Angel Stadium.

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The Angels (30-35) have lost a season-high six straight, eight of nine and 20 of their last 30.

It’s also their first six-game home losing streak since 2002 and the first time since Aug. 31-Sept. 9, 1981 that the Angels have scored three runs or fewer in nine straight games.

“I can’t remember the last time we had the lead,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said.

Starter Ervin Santana (3-6, 4.37 earned-run average) pitched seven innings, giving up four earned runs while walking five and striking out five.

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But as has been the Angels’ undoing in recent weeks, a starting pitcher got weak run support while the other team piled on.

The Angels sat in a 4-0 hole in the sixth inning when their offense sparked a near-rally — “near” because it was snuffed out by a thrilling play at the plate.

After the Angels scored two runs to cut the Royals’ lead in half, outfielder Bobby Abreu, who stood on second, took off for third base on a single to left by shortstop Erick Aybar.

Abreu received the call to run home from Angels third base coach Dino Ebel and rounded third just as Royals left fielder Alex Gordon rifled a strike to catcher Brayan Pena.

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Abreu was called out at the plate.

Scioscia said he thought Abreu slowed up as he rounded third, thinking he couldn’t score, but he said he trusted Ebel’s call to send him.

The Royals (28-36) beat the Angels for the fifth time in seven games this season and Joakim Soria earned his ninth save in a 1-2-3 ninth.

“We keep saying we need to get better,” Scioscia said. “Some of these guys that have been grinding it a little bit need to get productive.”

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Jeff Francis (3-6, 4.40) pitched 61/3 innings for Kansas City, giving up eight hits and two runs.

The Royals struck early when center fielder Melky Cabrera smashed a 94-mph fastball deep to right field in the first inning for a 1-0 lead.

Billy Butler hit a solo homer to left center in the fourth and the Royals added two more runs in the sixth.

Kansas City’s touted third baseman Mike Moustakas, a 22-year-old Northridge native and the second overall pick in the 2007 first-year player draft, went one for three, scoring a run, in his major league debut.

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baxter.holmes@latimes.com


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