Angels extend streak to seven games with 7-0 victory over Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Billy Buckner threw five shutout innings in his Angels debut, and Hank Conger and Josh Hamilton each homered in a 7-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium, extending the Angels’ winning streak to seven.
The Angels (22-27) have outscored opponents, 54-18, during the streak, and their starting pitchers have a combined 1.76 earned-run average in the seven games, giving up nine earned runs in 46 innings.
They’ve scored five or more runs in seven consecutive games for the first time since 2011 and only the third time since 2006. Mike Trout became the second player in franchise history to score multiple runs in five straight games, joining Don Baylor, who scored multiple runs in seven consecutive games in 1979.
The Angels didn’t have a hit against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie through five innings Saturday, but they held a 1-0 lead on the strength of Trout’s fourth-inning run.
Trout walked, stole second base, took third when catcher George Kottaras’ throw trickled into center field for an error and scored on Albert Pujols’ slow roller to third.
The Angels were the last team to lose a game in which the opponent did not get a hit -- Jered Weaver’s 1-0, no-hit loss to the Dodgers in 2008 -- but Conger put an end to that possibility when he led off the sixth with a wind-aided, opposite-field home run to left field for a 2-0 lead.
Hamilton took advantage of the jet stream in the seventh inning, poking his seventh homer of the season over the left-field wall for a 3-0 lead, and the Angels tacked on four insurance runs in the eighth, a rally that Conger and J.B. Shuck started with singles.
Erick Aybar advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Conger scored on Trout’s infield single, and after Pujols was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Mark Trumbo lined a two-run single to left to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 10 games. Howie Kendrick capped the rally with an RBI single.
Buckner was the 21st pitcher to appear this season for the injury-plagued Angels -- the club record is 29 pitchers used in 1996 and the 10th to start. Though he wobbled at times, walking three, hitting one batter and throwing two wild pitches, Buckner was effective.
The 29-year-old right-hander didn’t give up a hit until Alcides Escobar’s infield single in the fourth inning. Buckner escaped a first-and-third, one-out jam in the fifth by getting Chris Getz to ground into a double play.
Buckner became the third pitcher in franchise history to throw at least five shutout innings and surrender two or fewer hits in his Angels debut. The other two were Don Sutton, against Texas on Sept. 13, 1985, and Mark Langston, against Seattle on April 11, 1990.
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