Royals

Angels beat the Royals 6-1; Ian Kennedy takes second loss of season

Royals fall 6-1 to the Angels in series opener

The Star's Rustin Dodd recaps the Royals' 6-1 loss in Anaheim on Monday night as pitcher Ian Kennedy suffered his first lost this season.
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The Star's Rustin Dodd recaps the Royals' 6-1 loss in Anaheim on Monday night as pitcher Ian Kennedy suffered his first lost this season.

The ways to lose a baseball game are essentially innumerable, the possibilities for a crash-out almost infinite. On Monday night at Angel Stadium, Royals starter Ian Kennedy still managed to pull off something rare.

He took the wheel in the first inning and nearly totaled the family car after a series of nothing but scratches and fender benders.

The final result was a 6-1 loss in the Royals’ series opener here southern California, the first night in a six-game West Coast road trip. The setback dropped Kansas City to 12-7 overall and 4-4 on the road. The peculiar nature of the first inning did little to sooth the immediate frustration.

“It was a lot of weird stuff,” Kennedy said.

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In a span of seven batters in the bottom of the first, the Los Angeles Angels hit just one baseball to the outfield grass. They placed just one other baseball beyond the infield dirt. They scored three runs anyway, posting a game-altering rally before the Royals had an opportunity to bat for a second time.

The sequence included a hit batter, an infield single on a slow roller to third, and a walk to former Most Valuable Player Mike Trout, who was serving as the designated hitter after fouling a baseball off his foot on Saturday night. The inning could have been limited if Kennedy had fielded one baseball cleaner and avoided another wild pitch.

Moments after loading the bases, Albert Pujols, the Angels’ cleanup hitter, rapped a broken-bat chopper back at Kennedy. The baseball found Kennedy’s glove for a moment, but a brief bobble erased the opportunity for a double play. The Royals recorded just one out at home. The runs started a batter later.

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“It just came out of my glove,” Kennedy said, frustrated by the misplay. “In my head, it’s an error because it should have been a double (play), but a lot of weird stuff happened.”

The first run came across on a wild pitch. The second scampered home on a grounder to first. The third scored on an RBI single to right from Andrelton Simmons, the first baseball that reached the outfield in the inning. The whole inning was a montage of odd bounces and bizarre moments. But Kennedy could not steady himself nor limit the damage while fighting poor command.

“You try to eliminate it, and I was kind of disappointed I didn’t get out of there with just two runs given up,” Kennedy said.

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Just like that, the Royals trailed 3-0. The offense was tasked with forging a comeback against the power arm of Angels starter Garrett Richard. The challenge would prove far too great on a cool night in Orange County.

Richards would allow just one run and three hits while working around five walks in 6  2/3 innings. He dialed his fastball up to 96 mph and supplemented the gas with a bending slider. In the view of Royals manager Ned Yost, he was “just wild enough to be really effective.”

His only blemish occurred in the top of the fourth, when Salvador Perez singled home Eric Hosmer on a base hit to left field. Perez’s RBI pulled the Royals to within 4-1. The threat died when Richards retired Omar Infante and Jarrod Dyson.

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“He obviously had a game plan tonight,” said Hosmer, who extended his hitting streak to 15 games and is now batting .315. “He was gonna be aggressive and attack us.”

If the Angels’ first-inning rally was an onslaught of nicks and cuts, the rest of the offense was considerably louder. Kennedy would surrender solo homers to Pujols in the third and fifth innings, yielding a total of five runs on seven hits and four walks. He finished with 108 total pitches in six innings. It was, by any metric, his first substandard start of the season.

“Command was off, pretty much the whole game,” Kennedy said. “It was a grind.”

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Kennedy (2-2, 2.77 ERA) had entered Monday at 2-1 after posting a 1.35 ERA in his first three starts. He was facing an Angels lineup that had scuffled for much of the month. In 19 games, a lineup that featured Trout and Pujols had batted a collective .217 and clubbed just 13 homers. Pujols, alone, had endured a wretched 0-for-26 streak before breaking out with a homer on Sunday.

On Monday, Pujols, who attended Fort Osage High and Maple Woods Community College, cracked two more blasts, the 564th and 565th of his career, surpassing Reggie Jackson on the all-time list.

“Even though he’s been struggling this year, you still can’t take him lightly,” Kennedy said.

Trout stretched the lead to 6-1 in the seventh, roping a solo homer to left field off reliever Joakim Soria. The blast echoed across a half-empty Angel Stadium, a venue in which the Royals had won five straight games, including two games during a triumphant American League Division Series.

On the Monday, environs were calmer, the stakes lower. The Royals lost a series opener for the second time this season. They will return here on Tuesday night, when right-hander Edinson Volquez will toe the rubber against veteran Jered Weaver. They will attempt to leave Monday behind.

“It’s one of those nights where you just battle through it and come back tomorrow and see what we can get done,” Yost said.

Angels 6, Royals 1

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

A.Escobar ss

3

0

0

0

1

1

.235

Moustakas 3b

2

0

0

0

2

0

.264

L.Cain cf

4

0

0

0

0

2

.200

Hosmer 1b

3

1

1

0

1

1

.315

K.Morales dh

4

0

1

0

0

1

.243

A.Gordon lf

3

0

0

0

1

0

.234

S.Perez c

4

0

1

1

0

1

.262

Infante 2b

4

0

1

0

0

1

.267

J.Dyson rf

4

0

0

0

0

0

.304

Totals

31

1

4

1

5

7

Los Angeles

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Y.Escobar 3b

3

0

0

0

0

0

.250

Ortega cf-lf

4

1

2

0

0

0

.280

Trout dh

3

2

1

1

1

1

.300

Pujols 1b

4

3

2

2

0

0

.171

Calhoun rf

3

0

0

1

0

1

.282

A.Simmons ss

4

0

2

1

0

0

.240

Pennington 2b

2

0

0

0

2

1

.182

C.Perez c

4

0

1

0

0

0

.159

Choi lf

1

0

0

0

2

0

.111

Gentry pr-cf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.147

Totals

28

6

8

5

5

3

Kansas City

000

100

000

1

4

0

Los Angeles

301

010

10x

6

8

1

E—Pujols (2). LOB—Kansas City 8, Los Angeles 5. 2B—K.Morales (5). HR—Pujols 2 (5), off Kennedy 2; Trout (4), off Soria. RBIs—S.Perez (14), Trout (9), Pujols 2 (14), Calhoun (9), A.Simmons (4). CS—Ortega (1).

Runners left in scoring position—Kansas City 3 (J.Dyson, Moustakas, A.Gordon); Los Angeles 1 (Y.Escobar). RISP—Kansas City 1 for 5; Los Angeles 1 for 4.

Runners moved up—Calhoun, C.Perez. GIDP—Y.Escobar, C.Perez.

DP—Kansas City 2 (A.Escobar, Infante, Hosmer), (A.Escobar, Infante, Hosmer).

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Kennedy L, 2-2

6

7

5

5

4

2

108

2.77

Soria

1

1

1

1

0

1

17

7.00

Wang

1

0

0

0

1

0

12

4.26

Los Angeles

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Richards W, 1-3

6.2

3

1

0

5

5

115

2.35

Salas H, 4

1.3

1

0

0

0

1

25

3.09

J.Smith

1

0

0

0

0

1

11

3.27

Inherited runners-scored—Salas 2-0. HBP—by Kennedy (Y.Escobar, Calhoun). WP—Kennedy.

Umpires—Home, Jordan Baker; First, Mike Everitt; Second, Tim Timmons; Third, Toby Basner.

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