Royals’ Keller reliever-turned-starter facing Angels next

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Angels had a quick peek at Kansas City Royals right-hander Brad Keller earlier this season, but they should get a longer one Tuesday night.

After spending the first two months of his rookie season as a reliever, Keller is scheduled to make his second major league start in the second game of the three-game series at Angel Stadium.

Keller (1-1, 2.13 ERA) will face an Angels offense that collected 14 hits on Monday night and Los Angeles (33-28) won the series opener 9-6.

Keller, 22, made his first major league start on Wednesday following 21 appearances out of the bullpen for the Royals (21-39) this season.

He allowed one run and three hits over three innings against the visiting Minnesota Twins, departing after reaching a pre-determined pitch count. The Royals staked Keller to a 9-0 lead before eventually winning 11-8.

Keller told reporters after his first start that he didn’t adjust his pitching style. He routinely throws in the mid-90s but was clocked as high as 99 mph earlier this season.

“I try to just go and attack guys,” he said. “Just let my body go, create momentum and create velocity.”

Keller threw one inning of relief against the visiting Angels on April 13, giving up a run and two hits in the 5-4 loss.

Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney started that game and went five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) and seven hits. He’ll make his second career start against Kansas City on Tuesday.

Heaney (2-4, 3.66) allowed two earned runs or less in six consecutive starts from April 27 to May 25, a stretch that included two games against the New York Yankees and one against the Houston Astros, but was roughed up Thursday at the Detroit Tigers, giving up five runs and eight hits in five innings of a 6-2 loss.

“Andrew was just getting a little too much of the heart of the plate,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters after the game. “He missed with a couple pitches.”

The Angels will be aiming for their first three-game winning streak in a month. They enter Tuesday four games behind the Astros for the second wild card from the AL.

The Angels are 19-3 this season when they have at least 10 hits.

The 2-3-4 hitters for Los Angeles, Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols, combined for eight hits, three walks and six RBIs on Monday night.

Trout and Upton each with 3-for-4 with two RBIs, and Pujols had two hits and two RBIs.

Pujols hit his 623rd career home run, moving him within seven of Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth on the all-time MLB list.

“We’re grinding, having great at-bats,” Trout told Fox Sports West after the game. “It’s fun to be part of it right now.”

Angels first baseman Jefry Marte ended an 0-for-16 skid by going 4-for-4 on Monday night, but he’ll likely be replaced in the lineup on Tuesday by left-handed hitter Luis Valbuena, who’s 7-for-17 in his past six games.