Angels, Royals scoreless in fifth
No offensive outburst yet in Anaheim.
Through four and a half innings, Kansas City Royals pitcher Bruce Chen is matching Angels ace Jered Weaver in a scoreless tie.
Chen has retired Angels’ free-agent slugger Albert Pujols twice: a double-play line drive to shortstop and foul pop fly to third base.
After Pujols’ anticipated first at-bat closed with a line drive that Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar gloved and turned into a double play, the first at-bat by Kendrys Morales after he fractured his ankle celebrating a game-winning home run in 2010 was also anti-climactic: a double-play grounder to Escobar.
One point of concern for the Angels this season is the fielding of converted third baseman Mark Trumbo, who fielded the first grounder hit his way (in the second inning) and threw low and wide to Pujols at first, drawing Pujols off the base and allowing Yuniesky Betancourt to reach safely on the error. Chatsworth High product Mike Moustakas then popped out to Trumbo, who replaced Morales last year at first base in his rookie season and led the team with 29 home runs and 87 runs batted in.
Weaver gave up consecutive singles to Royals’ No. 8 and 9 hitters Brayan Pena and Escobar in the third inning, but rallied to strike out Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and young slugger Eric Hosmer to end the threat.
Weaver, who has six strikeouts, retired the side in the fourth and fifth innings.
Chen matched Weaver through three scoreless innings, giving up a hit each inning but responding by getting the double plays, then picking off Peter Bourjos after his two-out single to right.
Before the game, Royals Manager Ned Yost said he liked the idea of making the veteran lefty his No. 1 starter because Chen keeps the Royals in games, and Yost, projecting Saturday starter Luke Hochevar as a possible 15- to 20-game winner, said he’d rather match Hochevar against teams’ No. 2 starters.