Morales' pinch hit lifts Angels over Royals

Morales' pinch hit lifts Angels over Royals

Published Jul. 23, 2012 11:09 p.m. ET

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Kendrys Morales has started 63 games for the Los Angeles Angels as their designated hitter and another six at first base. This time, manager Mike Scioscia needed him off the bench and he delivered.

Pinch hitting with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, Morales came through with a rare three-run single to help the Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Monday night.

"I'm usually ready to go in by the seventh inning," Morales said through a translator. "The pitch was up, and I took advantage of it."

Alberto Callaspo, who spent two-plus seasons with the Royals, started the tiebreaking rally with a two-out single against reliever Greg Holland (4-3). Maicer Izturis bounced a double over the head of first baseman Eric Hosmer and down the line.

Third base coach Dino Ebel, respecting the strong arm of right fielder Jeff Francoeur, held Callaspo at third. Peter Bourjos, batting .223, drew a walk and zipped around the bases when Morales drove a 1-1 pitch to right-center while batting for Bobby Wilson.

"Kansas City has some power arms out of the `pen, and we were fortunate to get some things going -- especially with two outs," Scioscia said. "I think there's still some upside to Kendrys. I think he's getting comfortable. He's been through a stretch this month where he's just lost his comfort zone in the box and was chasing a lot of pitches. Hopefully this can start to get him back to where he is. We need him swinging the bat."

Royals manager Ned Yost was more upset about the walk to Bourjos than the hit by Morales.

"Greg got two outs, then came the hit by Callaspo and the bouncer over Eric," Yost said. "Then he walked Bourjos on four pitches, and that was the game. Greg got a fastball up to Morales and he hit a laser beam, but the walk to Bourjos is what killed him, because we knew they would send up Morales to hit. We're giving up walks in crucial situations, and we've got to find ways to eliminate that."

Kevin Jepsen (1-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings of two-hit relief after taking over for starter C.J. Wilson. Scott Downs worked a perfect ninth for his ninth save in 11 chances.

Angels rookie Mike Trout extended his franchise-record streak to 15 consecutive games with a run scored, three shy of the AL mark set by Red Rolfe of the Yankees in 1939 and equaled by Kenny Lofton of the Indians in 2000. The 20-year-old phenom is the first player to score a run in 15 straight games since Matt Holliday did it with Colorado in 2008.

Royals lefty Bruce Chen gave up three runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. Izturis chased the 14-year veteran in the sixth when he punched an opposite-field RBI single to right field to give the Angels a 3-2 lead after Howie Kendrick drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a groundout and stole third.

Royals No. 9 hitter Brayan Pena got Chen off the hook in the seventh with an RBI single.

Wilson allowed three runs and nine hits over 6 2-3 innings and struck out six. The left-hander was one of four players who represented the Angels at the All-Star game a couple of weeks ago in Kansas City, but wasn't able to pitch because of a blister on his middle finger.

"They had a couple hits that fell in, and it took a lot of pitches to get through the early part of the game. But after that, he settled down," Scioscia said. "He really had much better command as the game went on."

Wilson finished July 0-2 with a 4.55 ERA in five starts -- the first time he has gone winless in a calendar month since becoming a full-time starter in 2010 with Texas.

"You go through streaks where you get lucky and streaks where you get unlucky. You just have to look at the performance you do for yourself," Wilson said. "Tonight, I gave up three runs. I'm upset about that."

The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the third with Alex Gordon's RBI single and a long sacrifice fly from Lorenzo Cain, robbed of a home run by Bourjos on a towering drive to left-center.

"It wasn't a great play, but it was a good play," Yost said. "Their outfielders are so fast, so they can play deep."

The Angels tied it in the bottom half. Albert Pujols delivered the first run with a groundout after a leadoff single by Trout and a double by Torii Hunter. One out later, Kendrick doubled home Hunter.

Chen is 0-2 with a 9.25 ERA in his last five starts, after going 7-2 over his previous 10 outings. He pitched six scoreless innings against the Angels on opening day and ended up with a no-decision.

NOTES: The Angels have won 12 of their last 13 games against left-handed starters. ... Royals rookie LHP Will Smith, a seventh-round draft pick by the Angels in 2008, will face Los Angeles on Tuesday night in his fifth big league start. He was traded to Kansas City with reliever Sean O'Sullivan in a deal that sent Callaspo to the Angels in July 2010. ... The Angels acquired RHP Barry Enright from Arizona for a player to be named or cash. Enright will be assigned to Triple-A Salt Lake. ... The Angels have 10 RBIs in 41 at-bats by their pinch-hitters, and Morales has four.