Angels lose to Royals, Pujols ailing
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels lost a game after a costly error, but an injury to Albert Pujols could hurt them even more.
Omar Infante delivered another big hit against the Angels, singling home the winning run with one out in the ninth inning that lifted the Kansas City Royals to a 5-4 victory Sunday.
Pujols pulled up lame in the sixth inning when he jogged into second base when he tried to stretch a single into a double and was thrown out by left fielder Alex Gordon
"He felt a little something in his groin," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We’ll see how his situation is after the doctor looks at him. It had nothing to do with hustle."
Pujols said he initially felt something in his left thigh Wednesday, but does not believe he should miss any time.
"It’s fine," the slugger said. "I knew it was going to be a close play. When he threw it offline, I shut it down and started to feel it. My mindset was to kind of shut it down. That’s not an excuse. I have to run to the bag. They made a good play."
"It’s a gland and it grabbed me a little. They’re not too concerned about it. I don’t feel it when I’m hitting. The first time I felt it was when I was running. It’s been a couple of days," he said. "I took some swings and I didn’t want to come out. If I get on base, then they would pinch-run for me. It didn’t bother me to hit. I don’t want to come out when I have a chance and I’m DHing."
Infante line drive to left wins it for KC. 5-4 Royals. #Angels start a 3-game series with White Sox in Chicago tomorrow.
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) June 29, 2014
Lorenzo Cain hit three doubles for the Royals, finishing with four hits and two RBIs.
An error by second baseman Howie Kendrick set up the game-ending hit by Infante, whose grand slam Friday night helped beat the Angels.
Infante’s single came against Los Angeles newcomer Jason Grilli (0-3). Pittsburgh traded its former closer to the Angels on Friday.
Greg Holland (1-2) struck out two in the ninth.
Gordon was hit by a pitch with one out in the Kansas City ninth. Salvador Perez followed with a grounder to shortstop Erick Aybar, but his throw glanced off Kendrick’s error and sent Gordon to third. Infante followed with his single.
"I peeked too soon," Kendrick said. "It was a good feed. It just came off my glove. It happens sometimes. I feel bad because the pitcher did his job."
"I’ve dropped balls before, but I don’t remember dropping one like that. I came out of it too soon. I took my head out of the play. I had time. Perez is not a fast baserunner. I had time and the throw was right there. I looked too soon and didn’t follow the ball into the glove. It opened the game up for them."
Kole Calhoun led off the game with a home run against Jeremy Guthrie. The Angels added another run in the first on Cain’s error in right field, and Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead into the fourth.
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) June 29, 2014
Aybar homered later in the inning to make it 4-all.
After the Angels loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, Kelvin Herrera was summoned to face Pujols and retired him on a fly ball.
The Royals won challenges in the third and fifth inning and both resulted in double plays being converted. It was the first time the Royals won two challenges in a game.
Cain’s two-run double highlighted a four-run fourth off C.J. Wilson.
"He was so good for us for so long early," Scioscia said. "He’s simply not commanding counts. He’s pitching way behind. CJ has the knack to be able to make that one pitch and get out of situations, but not when you are always pitching behind. CJ has really good stuff, but he can’t use it all when he’s way behind in counts."
Wilson faced 22 batters and 12 reached base seven hits, four walks and a hit batter in 3 2/3 innings. Angels starting pitchers combined for only 11 2/3 innings in the three-game series to create a work overload for the bullpen.
"I couldn’t get outs from some of the guys I would get outs from," Wilson said. "It seems like Cain was on base in scoring position all day and when he came up with guys on base he fouled balls off and fouled balls off. I’d get ahead of him and he’d foul and foul and foul. It was just his day in that matchup."
NOTES: Angels RHP Garrett Richards, who starts Monday in Chicago against the White Sox, is 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA and holding batters to a .203 average in his first five June starts.