Angels not panicking after dropping series to KC
ANAHEIM, Calif.—Although opening day was a thrill, the opening weekend of the season didn't go the way the Los Angeles Angels hoped.
With 159 games and nine more seasons left on Albert Pujols' contract, nobody is terribly worried about it just yet.
Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler homered and drove in three runs apiece, and the Royals beat the Angels 7-3 Sunday, taking two straight victories and the series after Los Angeles' win in Friday's opener.
Pujols went 2 for 3 with a double and two walks, driving in his first run for the Angels with a first-inning groundout. Los Angeles' new $240 million slugger went 3 for 10 with two doubles in his first three games at Angel Stadium, but the entire Los Angeles lineup struggled in key situations Sunday, going 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
"We've got a great team here, and if we're going to get down about losing two in a row, then why are we even here?" said Howie Kendrick, who had three hits. "Even though we haven't been swinging the bats the way we can, we've had runners in scoring position, and that's the bright side. It's just a matter of putting it together and getting those key hits."
Vernon Wells homered in the eighth, but not much else went well. Los Angeles again struggled defensively and didn't get what's expected from its vaunted starting rotation for the second straight day. Ervin Santana (0-1) yielded seven hits and six runs while failing to get out of the sixth inning.
"There's a lot of things that went south in the last two games," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They have a good offensive club, but if you make your pitches, you're going to pitch well against them, as Jered (Weaver) showed in Game 1."
Santana allowed a runner to reach scoring position in all but one of his 5 2-3 innings, dropping the Angels into a 6-2 hole.
"(Santana) looked a little out of sync in his delivery, and he wasn't able to repeat pitches," Scioscia said. "His ball-strike ratio was terrible, and when he got into a tough part of the game, he was behind everybody. Those guys got some fastballs to hit, and they didn't miss them."
Wells snapped a 1-for-11 start to his season with a homer into the bullpen off Kelvin Herrera, but Crow stopped the Angels' rally, stranding two runners in scoring position. Kendrick and Pujols reached base to open the ninth, but Jonathan Broxton relieved Aaron Crow and struck out Torii Hunter, Wells and Kendrys Morales for an impressive finish to his first save for the Royals.
"It's not a concern. The talent is there," said Mark Trumbo, who had two hits. "I mean, who's to say we can't go on a real nice run on this road trip? I think everyone is actually swinging the bat well. We just haven't had a tremendous amount of luck with runners in scoring position just yet."
Jonathan Sanchez (1-0) survived through five innings to win his first start with the Royals, who produced two impressive games from the majors' youngest roster.
"We had one bad inning in the whole series, really," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said, referring to the Angels' five-run eighth on Friday night. "Besides that, we played great. ... We knew there would be a lot of hype. They've got a phenomenal team, and we knew it would be a big challenge, but we stood up and played them extremely well."
Trumbo, the Angels' new third baseman, mishandled a grounder in the sixth inning for his third error in three games. Trumbo led Los Angeles in homers and RBIs as a rookie last season, but is trying to learn a new position on the job after Pujols supplanted him at first base.
"It's pretty obvious that I've had some plays get away from me, but I take it very seriously and I want to contribute in all facets of the game," Trumbo said. "I'm not terribly pleased with the way it's gone so far, but I'm going to keep putting in the work and just use it as motivation to get better."
NOTES: New Angels LHP C.J. Wilson debuts on Monday at Minnesota when Los Angeles opens a six-game trip against the Twins and Yankees. ... Kansas City is headed up the California coast to Oakland, opening a three-game series with Luis Mendoza on the mound Monday night. ... Angels catchers Chris Iannetta and Bobby Wilson both celebrated their 29th birthdays.