Angels breathe sigh of relief with 4-3 victory over Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mark Trumbo found his long-lost power stroke, and five relievers combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings Sunday as the Angels held on for a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals in Kauffman Stadium.

After Saturday night’s meltdown, in which Ernest Frieri gave up two homers in the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss, the Angels used three relievers — Garrett Richards, Scott Downs and Jordan Walden — to get three outs in the eighth inning.

With Frieri unavailable after pitching the previous two nights, Kevin Jepsen allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season.

The Angels took an early 4-0 lead on Torii Hunter’s run-scoring single in the first and Trumbo’s three-run homer to center in the second, the 31st homer of the season but first extra-base hit since Aug. 21 for Trumbo, who entered with a .177 average (26 for 147) and 62 strikeouts in his previous 37 games.

The Royals chipped away off Angels starter Dan Haren with single runs in the second (Jeff Francoeur RBI groundout) and third (Tony Abreu homer) innings and took advantage of two miscues for a gift run in the fourth to make it 4-3.

Billy Butler led off the inning with a catchable drive to right-center that both Mike Trout and Hunter called for. The outfielders collided as the ball hit Hunter’s glove and fell to the ground for a double, shaking both defenders up but not enough to knock either out of the game.

Haren struck out Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas, and Francouer followed with a slow roller up the middle that shortstop Erick Aybar was able to field. But Aybar, though he had no play at first, attempted a throw anyway, and the ball bounced past Trumbo at first for an error that allowed Butler to score.

The Angels were too aggressive on the basepaths in the fifth when Albert Pujols hit a two-out double off the center-field wall and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, the Royals executing a perfect center-to-shortstop-to-third relay to end the inning.

The Angels put runners on first and third with two outs in the sixth, but Royals reliever Louis Coleman struck out Trumbo to end the inning.

Haren gave the Angels 5 2/3 solid innings, allowing three runs — two earned — and five hits, striking out five and walking one.


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