KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — There was no second guessing in the Los Angeles Angels clubhouse after a stunning defeat.
Billy Butler and Salvador Perez hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning as the Kansas City Royals rallied for a 3-2 victory Saturday night over the playoff-contending Angels.
Zack Greinke had limited the Royals to no runs and five singles when he was replaced by Ernesto Frieri after Alex Gordon singled with one out in the ninth.
Four fastballs later, two over the fence, doomed the Angels in a flabbergasting finish.
“I don’t second guess myself in that scenario,” Angels catcher Chris Iannetta said on the pitches called. “I definitely replayed it in my head and tried to figure out what we could have done better. It’s not a matter of second guessing myself. There’s no real cut answer on what you do. You stick with your strength. He throws 98-99 percent fastballs. That’s just his game.
“We tried to go down and away to Butler and it ended up being over the middle of the plate. We tried to go down and away to Perez and it was definitely up and in, a great piece of hitting by both guys.”
Greinke, who threw 109 pitches, said he felt fine and could have finished.
“Yeah, but I mean I’m not going to second guess,” Greinke said. “I think he’s (Mike Scioscia) probably the best manager in baseball at least from the outside looking in and so far being here. He’s smarter than me.”
The Angels entered the day 2 games back of Baltimore and New York for the second wild-card spot in the AL. This will not be an easy loss to shake off.
“We’re professionals,” Iannetta said. “We’ve been there before. We’ve all come through losses like this, gone through highs and lows. We know how to bounce back. It’s just what we do. We know how to turn the page.”
Greinke has allowed seven runs and 24 hits in 37 innings for a 1.70 ERA in his past five starts.
But all Greinke could do was watch the dramatic ending.
“It was pretty amazing,” Greinke said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen back-to-back homers to walk off like that. I don’t know if it’s ever happened. You don’t see that I think ever.”
The Royals know Frieri seldom throws anything but heat.
“We were looking for a fastball,” Butler said. “I told Sal on deck `you’d better not be late’ and neither of us was late.”
The only question was whether Perez’s blast would stay fair.
“We knew to look for a fastball,” Perez said. “That’s what he throws. I just looked at the umpire. When he threw his hand up, I knew we got it.”
Kendrys Morales, who homered for the second straight game, hit an 0-1 pitch from Jeremy Guthrie to right leading off the Angels’ fifth for the first run.
Guthrie, who was 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his previous seven starts, faced the minimum number of batters the first four innings. He gave up a fourth inning leadoff single to Mike Trout, but picked him off first. Guthrie left after eight innings, allowing two runs on five hits. Kelvin Herrera (3-3) replaced Guthrie and picked up the win with a scoreless ninth.
Greinke, who was acquired from Milwaukee in a trade on July 27 trade and won the 2009 American League Cy Young Award while with Kansas City, pitched out of a first inning jam.
Alcides Escobar, who had two of the hits off Greinke, singled with one out to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. Escobar advanced to third on Gordon’s groundball single to right.
Escobar was out at the plate when he attempted to score on Butler’s grounder to third baseman Alberto Callaspo. Perez’s grounder to Callaspo ended the inning and threat.
The Angels added a run in the eighth, when Vernon Wells led off with a single and advanced to third on two groundball outs. After Trout walked, Torii Hunter laced a run-scoring single to right that Francoeur apparently lost in the lights as it glanced off the heel of his glove. Hunter leads the American League with a .349 average since the All-Star break and has 16 RBIs in his past 17 games.
NOTES: RHP Ervin Santana might be pushed back a few days in the Angels rotation after being struck in the arm by Josh Donaldson’s liner in Wednesday’s start against Oakland. “Ervin just got smoked on the forearm,” Scioscia said. “We might take a couple of days with him. Ervin’s going to get the ball; he’s going to pitch. It’s set him back a little bit as to when he’s going to throw his `pen. He’ll throw a couple of light things. He’ll probably throw this weekend and then we’ll see where he is.” … Royals 2B Johnny Giavotella committed two errors. The Royals had committed just five errors in their previous 18 games. … This series closes Sunday with the Royals starting rookie LHP Will Smith, who pitched seven scoreless innings Tuesday in a victory at Minnesota. RHP Dan Haren will start for the Angels.