The Royals took down the Angels, 6-1, on Wednesday afternoon — giving them a series win and the best 10-game start since 2016. With the victory, Kansas City is tied for first place in the American League Central with Cleveland.
After two brutal starts, Brad Keller climbed the bump with the hopes of giving the Royals their third quality start of the season. In the top of the first, he worked around a lead-off single by striking out the red-hot Shohei Ohtani and getting Mike Trout and Jared Walsh to fly out. In the bottom half, Kansas City had a prime opportunity to take the lead with the bases loaded, but a line drive off the bat of Michael A. Taylor struck Carlos Santana on the base path — resulting in the third out of the inning.
Keller ran into some trouble in the top of the third — loading the bases with one out. However, instead of crumbling, the 25-year-old right-hander struck out Trout and Walsh — keeping the game tied at 0-0. As it goes in baseball, when one team fails to cash in, the other does so almost instantly. In this case, the Royals wasted no time, as Salvador Perez belted his third home run of the season to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead.
In the ensuing inning, Kansas City used the small ball mentality to scratch across another run. After Taylor reached on an infield single, he stole second base and moved to third on a fly ball to right field. With the infield in, Cam Gallagher poked a soft fly ball into shallow center field. David Fletcher, who was running backward, caught the ball with his momentum carrying him toward center field. Taking a chance, Taylor tagged up and beat the throw home to give the Royals a two-run cushion.
Los Angeles finally tagged Keller for a run in the top of the sixth. On a 2-2 count to Walsh, Keller left a slider up in the zone and the left-handed hitter roped it into the right field corner — scoring Trout from first. With two outs and runners on the corner, Mike Matheny made the move to bring on Jake Brentz to face a lefty. Brentz, who was pitching for the third straight day, got Jose Rojas to fly out to right field. Keller finished his outing with 5 2⁄3 innings pitched — allowing one run on four hits with five strikeouts.
Josh Staumont — fresh off a one-day IL stint — came on for the top of the seventh inning. Whatever the injury was, it didn’t seem to bother him, as Staumont recorded a 1-2-3 frame with a strikeout. He worked two scoreless innings in total.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Kansas City put the game away. Perez, a.k.a Mr. En Fuego, pounded an RBI-double into the right-center field gap to push the Royals’ lead to 3-1. Moments later, Carlos Santana crushed a two-run bomb into the seats in left-center field. You could say it was a hot one...like seven inches from the midday sun.
Kansas City added its sixth run in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Whit Merrifield. Those six runs were the most Royals had scored in a game since April 3rd vs. Texas. In the ninth, Tyler Zuber worked a scoreless inning to secure the series win.
The Royals (6-4) welcome the Toronto Blue Jays (6-6) for a four-game set starting on Thursday. Toronto hasn’t named a starter, but Jakob Junis will toe the slab for Kansas City. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. CT.