Angels fall short in 13-inning loss vs. Royals

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Angels had a number opportunities to beat the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night, but the one missed chance they probably regret the most was the fly ball that pinch-hitter C.J. Cron hit in the 12th inning.

It was so close. So close to going out. So close to being a hit. So close to winning the game.

Cron didn’t think it had a chance to clear the fence in center field, and he was right. At the end of the night, it was just a footnote to the Angels’ 7-4 loss in 13 innings at Angel Stadium.

"It was going to be close, but this air gets heavy," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He didn’t quite get fully extended on it, but he hit it well enough that it had a chance for sure."

The Royals won the game by scoring three times off reliever Mike Morin in the 13th, although it was Morin’s throwing error on a sacrifice bunt by Alcides Escobar that helped Kansas City to two unearned runs.

The Angels got homers from Erick Aybar and Mike Trout and scrambled back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead in the fifth, but they couldn’t hold the lead.

Relief pitchers Joe Smith, Ernesto Frieri and Fernando Salas each pitched two innings, and with a 12:35 p.m. game scheduled Sunday, the Angels may have to seek help from Triple-A Salt Lake.

"We’re talking about a couple of things now," Scioscia said. "We might have to get an arm here."

There was another development at Salt Lake. Outfielder Josh Hamilton, who is on a rehab assignment, felt discomfort in his left thumb and was scratched from the lineup for a second consecutive day. Scioscia said Hamilton is now day to day.

The Angels could have used his bat, but Cron almost got them the win when he came to the plate with two outs in the 13th and Trout on second base following an infield hit and a ground out.

The ball seemed to have plenty of lift, but Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain flagged it down before hitting the wall.

"The way the outfielders went after it, I thought it could maybe go, but it didn’t," Cron said.

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"I’m more disappointed that (Trout) was at second and a base hit would have done it. Not being able to get the job done kind of sucks."

At least the Angels won a couple of challenge plays.

In the fifth inning, a fly ball to left by Albert Pujols looked like a miraculous catch by Alex Gordon, who lost the ball in his glove but juggled it to make the catch. Scioscia’s challenge was upheld, however, when umpires ruled that the ball struck the fence before Gordon finally caught it, resulting in a double for Pujols.

Then, in the sixth, Angels catcher Hank Conger lined a pitch to right and slid into second, barely avoiding the glove of Pedro Ciriaco. Conger performed a deft move, sliding feet first, then using his right hand to avoid Ciriaco’s glove as he slid past the bag.

The Royals challenged the call, but it was clear from replays that Conger got his hand over Ciriaco’s glove before touching the base safely.