The Angels spoiled Brad Keller’s birthday with a shutdown performance on the mound and a pair of two-run innings to defeat the Royals 4-0.
Early on, Keller was dealing, mowing down the first nine hapless Halos hitters with a very aesthetically pleasing three strikeouts, three groundouts, and three flyouts. He walked Shohei Ohtani leading off the fourth, but handily disposed of the next three hitters in order. But Janson Junk came to play as well, scattering four singles but otherwise matching Keller with four scoreless innings to start the game.
Keller was undermined by his outfield defense in the fifth. Kurt Suzuki led off the inning by lining a base hit to left for the first Angels hit of the game. It should have been a single, but Kyle Isbel booted it and Suzuki moved up to second. For whatever reason, it was credited as a double. After a flyout from Magneuris Sierra, Phil Gosselin smoked a 1-2 fastball to deep right. MJ Melendez had a play on it, albeit a tough one, but it went just over his glove and landed on the warning track. Melendez smacked into the outfield wall and hit the dirt, allowing Gosselin to cruise into third with an RBI triple. Melendez was shaken up after the play but stayed in the game. Brandon Marsh then blooped a single into left-center that scored Gosselin, 2-0 Angels.
Keller played with fire again by loading the bases with one out in the sixth, but he rolled up a double play off the bat of Gosselin to escape the jam. Meanwhile, the Royals bats had no answers for Junk as they managed just four baserunners while being shutout through five innings. He was pulled after walking Whit Merrifield to lead off the sixth, but the Royals didn’t have any success off Andrew Wantz either as he finished out the inning without allowing a run.
Keller came in to start the seventh and was promptly pulled after serving up a slider to Marsh that he smacked down the right field line for a leadoff triple. Dylan Coleman came in to pitch to the light-hitting Andrew Velasquez. After a seven pitch battle, Velasquez tapped one back towards Coleman. Coleman fielded it and....
Marsh scored and Velasquez advanced all the way to third on the play. Ohtani grounded Coleman’s very next pitch up the middle to score Velasquez. Coleman then managed to get a pop-up and double play to end the inning, but the damage was done as the Angels led 4-0 going to the bottom of the seventh.
The Royals had no answer for the Angels bullpen as Wantz, Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera. and Raisel Iglesias allowed only three baserunners en route to four shutty. Angels win 4-0, taking the series and splitting the season series.
The loss drops the Royals to 39-59. They are now last in the AL Central, half a game behind Detroit. The Royals offense, which has looked rejuvenated since the change at hitting coach, has not scored in 18 consecutive innings. Next up, the Royals travel to New York for a four game set against the American League leading Yankees.
Brad Keller - 6+ IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
Janson Junk - 5+ IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 0 HR
Ryan O’Hearn - 3-4
Phil Gosselin - 2-4, 3B, RBI, R