LA Angels drop another home opener, 4-2 to unbeaten Royals
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Angels celebrated their 50th home opener in Orange County with the same result they got when they left the venerable Big A last October.
At least the Kansas City Royals didn't wait until the 11th inning to ruin the night this time.
Kendrys Morales homered, Lorenzo Cain drove in two runs and the defending AL champions remained unbeaten with a 4-2 victory Friday night.
David Freese homered and Kole Calhoun had an early RBI double for the Angels, who have lost their last three home openers.
After taking two of three in Seattle, the Angels returned home to a modest celebration of their AL West title at the majors' fourth-oldest stadium. The Royals' presence also gave the Angels an ugly reminder of their postseason faceplant, which included two dramatic extra-inning homers into the elevated right-field stands on the way to Kansas City's sweep of the 98-win Angels.
Hector Santiago (0-1) had a rocky season debut, yielding six hits and three runs. His teammates couldn't catch up, either: Mike Trout went 2 for 3 with a walk, but the AL MVP was stranded twice and erased on a double-play grounder by Albert Pujols, who went hitless to extend his season-opening skid to 2 for 15.
''We definitely wanted to get some payback, some revenge on these guys, but we're playing again tomorrow,'' Santiago said. ''If we can take two of three, it'll still be a positive series for us.''
Eric Hosmer drove in an early run and Jason Vargas pitched six solid innings against his former team for the Royals, who followed up their season-opening sweep of the White Sox with another win in Anaheim.
''It's good to get off to a good start,'' said Hosmer, whose 11th-inning homer won Game 2 of the division series. ''It's always tough to come back from a short offseason, and it was our first playoff experience. But for us to close that chapter and start 4-0 ... it just shows we're on a mission and we're not going to let anything get in the way.''
Vargas (1-0) yielded five hits and two runs over six innings with little serious trouble for the former Long Beach State star.
''I thought he threw the ball great, executed his pitches and spotted his fastball extremely well,'' manager Ned Yost said.
Hosmer drilled a single past Johnny Giavotella in the first inning to score Cain. After Calhoun snapped his 1-for-12 skid to tie it in the third, Cain's RBI single put Kansas City ahead in the fifth.
''His first 50 pitches, Hector really struggled,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''And then he found a nice rhythm and looked like he was on his way.''
Morales connected in the sixth for his first homer, stepping delicately on home plate at the same stadium where he broke his leg stepping on the plate after hitting a game-ending grand slam for the Angels on May 29, 2010, sidelining him for nearly two years.
Freese hit his second homer of the season in the sixth.
Yost isn't surprised to see Giavotella starting at second base for the Angels, even though the Royals designated him for assignment last December. Giavotella spent parts of the past four seasons in Kansas City, managing just 104 hits. He won a spring training competition to replace Howie Kendrick, the Angels' hits leader in 2014. ''Johnny has got a lot of energy, and his work ethic is tremendous,'' Yost said. ''If anybody can do it, he could.''
Royals: Closer Greg Holland didn't pitch after making back-to-back appearances at home. Yost initially said Holland would be available, but the training staff changed his mind. ''Just using some common sense,'' Yost said. ''It's a little early to be pushing guys three days in a row.''
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards is eager to get back on the mound after his eight-month rehabilitation from knee surgery, but the Angels have assigned him to make a start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday. The hard-throwing Richards, who won 13 games last year before hurting his knee in August, says he feels ready for the majors after throwing seven strong innings in an intrasquad game Thursday.
Royals: Jeremy Guthrie makes his season debut.
Angels: Jered Weaver makes his second start of the season after taking a loss on opening day.