KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals have hit 13 of their 15 homers this season with the bases empty, including two Saturday night.
At least they got the timing right this time.
Mike Moustakas hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning, lifting the Royals over the Los Angeles Angels 3-2.
“I was thinking after Moose hit his, it would be nice to get a two- or three-run homer every now and then,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “But look, they win you ball games, and they won us one today. I won’t complain.”
Moustakas connected off Jose Alvarez (0-1) for his fifth home run this season.
“A tough lefty on the mound,” Moustakas said. “I was trying to get something out over the plate to drive it. He gave me two sliders in a row and he came back with a fastball and I was able to put some barrel on it and it carried out of the yard.”
Los Angeles had tied the score in the seventh when Cameron Maybin led off with a single against Mike Minor, Martin Maldonado walked with one out and Ben Revere hit a two-out single against Joakim Soria (1-0), who threw 38 pitches over 1 2/3 innings while striking out four.
Royals starter Nathan Karns allowed Albert Pujols’ RBI grounder in the first and four hits over six innings. Karns escaped a bases-loaded jam when Andrelton Simmons lined out to Alex Gordon on the left-field warning track on his final pitch.
“That was pretty intense,” Karns said. “I threw a changeup to Simmons and was able to stay in the park and Gordo was able to get it for me. I relied on my defense a lot.”
Kansas City starters Jason Vargas, Danny Duffy and Karns have allowed two runs over 20 2/3 innings for a 0.87 ERA.
Kelvin Herrera pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.
Eric Hosmer hit an RBI single in a 33-pitch bottom of the first and Brandon Moss homered in the fourth against Matt Shoemaker, who gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings while striking out seven.
“For him to get that far was remarkable considering how tough that first inning was,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Shoemaker is 0-3 with a 9.41 ERA in five career starts against the Royals.
“It was just a battle today,” Shoemaker said. “That’s the best way to put it. Just a hard-fought battle on both ends. Unfortunately, we just came up on the not good end.”
Pujols played first base for the first time since Aug. 10. With the Angels playing 37 games in 38 days, Angels manager Mike Scioscia used Mike Trout as the DH. “We’ve got a little deeper bench this year,” Scioscia said. “Any time we get a chance to get Mike at DH, we’re going to take advantage of it.”
Royals RHP Jason Hammel, LHP Travis Wood and OF Jorge Soler, who all played for the Cubs last year, will be in Chicago on Monday — when the Royals are off — for a World Series ring ceremony at Wrigley Field. When Hammel was told the ring had a lot of diamonds, he replied, “There’s a lot of years of pain.”
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards (lack of biceps strength) had an MRI of his spine, which ruled out a cervical disk or nerve issue. Richards went on the DL after one start.
Royals: Soler (oblique strain) continues taking batting practice and shagging balls in the outfield.
Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs, slated to start Sunday’s series finale, pitched seven scoreless innings on July 26 last year in his only career start against the Royals.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy is 0-4 with a 6.55 ERA in five appearances against the Angels.