Royals

Angels use the long ball to beat the Royals 4-2, sweep series

How Mike Trout beat Chris Young in the Royals' 4-2 loss to the Angels

The Royals lost to the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Wednesday night in Anaheim, Calif. The Angels' Mike Trout made Kansas City starter Chris Young pay for a mistake.
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The Royals lost to the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Wednesday night in Anaheim, Calif. The Angels' Mike Trout made Kansas City starter Chris Young pay for a mistake.

At 4:13 p.m. Wednesday, Royals starter Chris Young sat in front of a black laptop computer in the visitors’ clubhouse, scrolling through scouting reports and clicking on video clips. His desk was a large metal equipment case on wheels, which acts as the team’s mobile video center during road trips. He studied one final clip a few minutes later, then stood up and headed to his locker, finishing his final hours of mental preparation.

The prep work is routine for Young. In the days before a start, he likes to build a detailed plan for each hitter. On Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels, the plan was mostly on point, his instincts accurate. But Young still made two mistakes, and paid dearly for them in a 4-2 loss, surrendering two homers that managed to best a scuffling Royals offense.

“I made two mistakes tonight,” Young said, “and they got hit out.”

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In the most important at-bat of the night, Young missed his spot by inches, allowing a two-run blast to superstar Mike Trout in the bottom of the fourth. He later served up a solo homer to third baseman Yunel Escobar with nobody out in the sixth. He yielded just one other hit while throwing 78 pitches in 5  1/3 innings. Yet when the dust had cleared, he had fallen to 1-4 on the season.

The Royals dropped to 12-9 overall while suffering a three-game sweep here in Anaheim. As they boarded a flight bound for Seattle on late Wednesday night, they had lost three straight games for the first time since Sept. 7 of last year.

“It definitely feels different,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “It happens, you know?”

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For another night, the Royals’ offense struggled to secure a clutch hit, finishing 0 for 7 with men in scoring position. But standing in the clubhouse after the game, Young still lamented an 0-2 offering to Trout, a pitch that turned the game in the fourth.

In the moment, the Royals led 2-0. Young jumped ahead of Trout 0-2 with a man on base. He challenged Trout with a 90 mph fastball, aiming high and on the outer half of the plate.

Young wanted the ball up. It wasn’t up enough.

Trout took a quick and violent stroke, rocketing the ball to deep center field, high above a row of green shrubs that make up the backdrop here at Angel Stadium. The blast ignited pyrotechnics beyond the center-field wall. Young never turned around after seeing the bat hit baseball.

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“The ball drifted back a little bit,” Young said. “It probably could have been a couple inches higher. You make a mistake to a great hitter, and he makes you pay.”

Young had started the at-bat by throwing a fastball for a strike and then followed with two sliders. The first slider found the strike zone and the second was fouled away. Young returned to the fastball — to a location where Trout is often susceptible. This time, Trout did not miss, hitting his second homer of the series and fourth in seven games.

“I feel like if I make a better pitch there, we win this game,” Young said.

But because the offense was mostly dormant again, the Royals did not. Hosmer bashed a two-run homer to center in the top of the first. And that was pretty much it. Kendrys Morales, Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez went hitless. Shortstop Alcides Escobar finished 1 for 5, snapping an 0-for-17 skid in his final at-bat. By the end, the offense had left nine men on base.

“Sometimes it’s just one big hit and then everybody gets going,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “But right now, we’re just not getting that timely hit. We had opportunities today to break that game open.”

Hosmer finished 3 for 4 and raised his season average to .333, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games. Moustakas piled up two more hits after hitting his seventh homer on Tuesday. And …?

“Everybody else is kind of scuffling,” Yost said.

It is way too early for alarm; the Royals, after all, are still three games over .500. But after losing five straight on the road, the club has lost some of the good vibes from an 8-2 start. The Royals will have a day off Thursday before beginning a three-game series in Seattle on Friday night.

“That’s the funny thing about the schedule,” Hosmer said. “Sometimes there’s bad off days and sometimes there’s good off days. And this is definitely a good one.”

For the second night in a row, the Royals opened the scoring with a towering homer in the first inning. Hosmer jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Angels starter Nick Tropeano and drove the baseball 442 feet, a mammoth two-run shot into the rock pile beyond the center field wall. The homer was Hosmer’s third of the season — and his second of more than 440 feet. It came just moments after Moustakas lashed a single to left field. The Royals owned a 2-0 lead before the Angels batted in the first.

For three innings, Young appeared sharp, yielding just one walk and striking out the side in the bottom of the third. The Angels’ Rafael Ortega broke through with a single with nobody out in the fourth. Trout followed with a homer. And Escobar cranked a decisive solo shot on a 3-1 fastball in the sixth.

“The results are going to come,” Young said. “I’m not worried about that. My stuff is there — where it is right now, the results are going to come. I’m frustrated we didn’t win. That’s my biggest disappointment.”

One inning after Young departed, Andrelton Simmons went deep to left off reliever Luke Hochevar. The Royals were staggered, with no effective counter in the final innings. An hour later, a clubhouse packed up its thing and prepared to fly to Seattle. It had been more than six months since this club had lost three straight, a stretch that spanned the offseason and included a victory parade. The feeling was strange, Hosmer said.

“It’s just been a weird couple games,” he said. “We’ve gotten out to a couple leads and couldn’t really get anything going after that. We know that’s not this team. We know we’re a lot better than that. We realize over the course of 162 games, stuff like this happens.”

Angels 4, Royals 2

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

A.Escobar ss

5

0

1

0

0

2

.220

Moustakas 3b

5

1

2

0

0

0

.275

Hosmer 1b

4

1

3

2

0

1

.333

K.Morales dh

3

0

0

0

1

2

.224

S.Perez c

4

0

0

0

0

1

.261

A.Gordon lf

4

0

0

0

0

2

.222

Infante 2b

3

0

1

0

1

0

.277

Orlando rf

4

0

2

0

0

1

.296

J.Dyson cf

3

0

1

0

1

0

.333

Totals

35

2

10

2

3

9

Los Angeles

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Y.Escobar 3b

4

1

1

1

0

2

.281

Ortega lf

3

1

2

0

1

0

.313

Trout cf

4

1

1

2

0

1

.295

Pujols 1b

3

0

0

0

0

0

.169

Calhoun rf

2

0

0

0

1

0

.256

A.Simmons ss

3

1

1

1

0

1

.241

Pennington 2b

3

0

0

0

0

2

.160

C.Perez c

3

0

0

0

0

1

.160

Choi dh

3

0

0

0

0

2

.083

Totals

28

4

5

4

2

9

Kansas City

200

000

000

2

10

0

Los Angeles

000

201

10x

4

5

0

LOB—Kansas City 9, Los Angeles 2. 2B—Hosmer (5). HR—Hosmer (3), off Tropeano; Trout (5), off Young; Y.Escobar (3), off Young; A.Simmons (1), off Hochevar. RBIs—Hosmer 2 (8), Y.Escobar (7), Trout 2 (13), A.Simmons (5). SB—Orlando (1), J.Dyson (3). CS—Ortega (2). DP—Los Angeles 1.

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Young L, 1-4

5.1

3

3

3

2

6

6.12

Hochevar

1.2

1

1

1

0

1

2.89

K.Herrera

1

1

0

0

0

2

0.00

Los Angeles

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Tropeano

5.1

8

2

2

2

6

2.11

Salas W, 1-1

0.2

1

0

0

0

0

2.92

J.Alvarez H, 5

2

0

0

0

1

3

4.76

J.Smith S, 1-2

1

1

0

0

0

0

3.00

Inherited runners-scored—Hochevar 1-0, Salas 1-0. T—2:51. A—35,142 (45,493).

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