KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) As he warmed up in the bullpen, it was hard to tell what surprised Angels closer Huston Street more: watching his club beat up Kansas City’s stingy bullpen, or realizing Albert Pujols was about to play third base for him.
After a series of pinch hitters and substitutions helped Los Angeles rally from a four-run hole, Street and his hodge-podge defense held on through a tense ninth inning for a 7-6 victory Thursday night that snapped a seven-game skid against the Royals.
”That’s the beauty of a game like that,” said Street, who gave up Eric Hosmer’s solo homer before stranding runners on first and second to end the game.
Article continues below ...
”It was surprising, but at the same time, you just have to trust your guys.”
Kansas City built a 5-1 advantage heading to the eighth, but All-Star reliever Wade Davis coughed up two runs in his first appearance since Aug. 6, when a stiff back put him on the shelf.
Greg Holland (3-1) entered in the ninth and gave up a leadoff single, a walk and threw a wild pitch. C.J. Cron followed with a tying pinch-hit double, Johnny Giavotella singled and Kole Calhoun added a go-ahead double into the right-field corner.
Holland then walked Mike Trout before he was pulled. The former All-Star closer allowed four runs and four hits and a pair of walks without retiring a batter.
”When you’re leading in the ninth inning, you should win the game,” Holland said.
”I’ve been closing and in the bullpen long enough to know you’ve got to take the bad from the good and the good from the bad. It’s one of those nights, I didn’t get it done,” he added. ”I didn’t execute when I needed to and we lose the game because of it. And I’m pissed off about it. I’ll wake up tomorrow, hopefully, and I’ll be ready to do the same thing tomorrow.”
Street had slightly less trouble, hanging on after Hosmer’s home run and with a strange mix of players behind him. Erick Aybar’s back injury coupled with lineup changes meant that Pujols had to play third base for the second time this season and only the 12th time since 2002.
”That was the best we could come up with,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”There were some things we had to do with so many guys out of position.
Jose Alvarez (3-3) tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win.
The Royals’ stunning bullpen meltdown squandered a nice bounce-back start by Jeremy Guthrie, who allowed two runs and three walks over six innings. The veteran had been dinged for at least 10 hits in each of his past three outings, putting his spot in the rotation in question.
Garrett Richards allowed three runs and eight hits and two walks for Los Angles.
Rios, Lorenzo Cain and Drew Butera drove in runs off Richards early in the game, and Hosmer and Kendrys Morales appeared to put it out of reach when they touched up the Angels bullpen.
Then, an offense that had been sputtering came to life.
Trout, Conor Gillaspie and David Murphy also drove in runs for Los Angeles, which had managed four runs total in a three-game sweep by the White Sox to start its road trip.
The victory snapped the Angels’ nine-game losing streak away from home.
”I think it’s definitely a win to build on. That’s one of the best teams in baseball,” Street said. ”This is a good series for us to show something.”
STATS AND STREAKS
The Royals lost for the first time since May 5, 2014, when leading after the eighth inning. … The four runs allowed by Holland were the second-most in his career. He allowed five in 2 1-3 innings against Cleveland on Aug. 27, 2010. … Gillaspie snapped an 0-for-17 stretch with his single in the fourth. … Giavotella has hit safely in 20 of 22 games.
Angels: LHP C.J. Wilson will have season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs. He hopes it allows him to be ready by spring training. … Scioscia said that Aybar hurt his back in batting practice. It was unclear how long he’ll be out.
Royals: LF Alex Gordon (strained groin) hopes to begin a rehab assignment soon. He’s been taking regular batting practice and shagged fly balls in the outfield earlier this week.
Angels: RHP Jered Weaver makes his second start since returning from the DL. He allowed two earned runs and four hits in five innings against Baltimore on Sunday.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy allowed three runs and four hits in 3 1-3 innings before getting yanked from his previous start Sunday against the White Sox.