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Angels' Lackey outduels Royals' Greinke

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)

With Los Angeles' John Lackey and Kansas City's Zack Greinke matched up in a strong pitcher's duel, the Angels took advantage of the Royals' two mistakes. Erick Aybar had three hits, including a tiebreaking RBI single in the 11th inning, to lead the Angels to a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night. Earlier, Torii Hunter tied the score with an RBI single off Greinke in the eighth. Chone Figgins reached on Willie Bloomquist's fielding error to open the inning. "The ball took a weird hop," Bloomquist said. "He hit it hard and it went to my backhand. I wasn't anticipating it coming up that high on me. He smoked it. It's a huge play in the scheme of things. I'd like to think I could make that play." After Figgins moved to third on Macier Izturis' single to right with none out, it appeared Greinke might pitch out of the trouble. He struck out Bobby Abreu and got Vladimir Guerrero on a foul pop up to catcher Miguel Olivo. Hunter, however, singled to center to score Figgins with the trying run. "I said, 'Dang, one of the best pitchers in the game,"' Hunter said. "Zack's a bulldog. If I could have him on my side, I'd love it. When you are going up there first and third and two great hitters, one strikes out and one pops up. Now you're next. I was like, no that's not going to happen. I've got to try to do something. I was trying to battle this guy. He's been pitching great all night. I just came through. He left a pitch up and I was able to capitalize on it. "I wasn't even looking for a breaking pitch. I saw it looping and hey, your mind signals curveball. So you wait and you hit it. I was looking dead red fastball. When he hit 97 on the pitch before that, I wasn't looking for any offspeed." In the 11th, Aybar's single off Yasuhiko Yabuta (0-1) scored Torii Hunter, who led off the 11th with a single and moved to second on a Yabuta's wild pitch. After Juan Rivera walked with one out, Aybar stroked a run-scoring single to right. "You got two aces going at it, so you're not expecting to get a lot of runs," Figgins said. "The only thing you can hope to get is some good defensive plays and some clutch hitting. That's was pretty much part of both ends." Kevin Jepsen (5-3) worked a perfect 10th, striking out two, to pick up the victory. Brian Fuentes worked around David DeJesus' double with one out in the 11th to get his 39th save in 44 opportunities. Greinke, who threw a one-hitter at Seattle in his last start and struck out a club-record 15 in his previous outing against Cleveland on Aug. 25, allowed one unearned run on eight hits in eight innings. He left after a career high 125 pitches and lowered his ERA to a major league-best 2.22. In his last three starts, he has allowed two earned runs and 14 hits, while striking 28 in 25 innings. "They hit the ball really well," Greinke said. "We had good defense, especially by the outfield. They ran down everything. A lot of balls were hit real hard. I wasn't really fooling them very much." Greinke struck out eight Angels, increasing his season total to 210, the second-highest in Royals history. Dennis Leonard holds the franchise record with 244 strikeouts in 1977. "Greinke pitched outstanding," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "He did a great job getting out of a couple of jams. We didn't do very much with Lackey." Lackey matched Greinke on the mound, retiring 17 in a row after giving up a RBI-single to Billy Butler in the first. He did not allow another runner to reach base until Butler led off the seventh with a single. Lackey allowed one run and six hits in nine innings, striking out four and walking none. "Torii came up with the big hit late," Lackey said. "I was locating my fastball really well and rode it for three or four innings." Lackey liked the challenge of going against one of the best pitchers in the majors. "That's what I'm here for," Lackey said. "I'm here to win those kind of games." DeJesus, who had not made an error in 129 games this season, caught Figgins' foul ball in the fifth and threw out Aybar at the plate to end the inning. Notes: Royals 2B Alberto Callaspo did not play because of a sore right ankle after fouling a pitch off it Friday. ... The Angels are 8-0 against the Royals this season. ... The Royals promoted RHPs Victor Marte and Carlos Rosa and LHP Dusty Hughes from their Triple-A Omaha club. Marte pitched the past three years in Japan after being on major league baseball's disqualified list from 2002-05.
Tagged: Angels, Royals

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