ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Nori Aoki’s three hits were one more than the rest of his Kansas City Royals teammates generated against C.J. Wilson and the Los Angeles Angels’ bullpen.
The Royals loaded the bases in the first inning after Alex Gordon’s RBI single, but Lorenzo Cain took a third strike from Wilson – making him 0 for 4 in those situations and the Royals 6 for 27 with the bags full. Kansas City got only one more runner as far as third base and lost 6-1 Friday night.
“You’re not going to score many runs when you get five hits on the night, and three are from one guy,” manager Ned Yost said. “There was not a lot going on offensively. You do capitalize when you’re going good. You don’t when you’re not.”
The Royals were trailing 3-1 in the fifth when Aoki led off with a double. He tried to tag up on Eric Hosmer’s one-out flyball to center field and was thrown out at third base as Mike Trout threw a seed to David Freese on the fly.
“That’s not a good chance he took right there,” Yost said. “You never want to make the third out. We had Billy (Butler) coming up. Trout has a 70 arm – and when he catches the ball, you don’t challenge in that situation.”
Danny Duffy (2-4) gave up five runs and nine hits over six innings in his fourth start since he began filling in for Bruce Chen, who has a sore back. The 25-year-old left-hander was coming off a 1-0 victory against Baltimore in which he retired his first 20 batters.
Trout and Chris Iannetta hit solo homers against Duffy, ending a streak of 67 2-3 innings since April 16, 2012, in which he hadn’t allowed one – the longest streak among active pitchers.
“They’re a good hitting team and they came out hacking early,” Duffy said. “I probably could have mixed it up a little better, but I got lazy on a couple of off-speed pitches and I paid the price. I know I can do a lot better than that. I made some good pitches tonight. But when I didn’t, they capitalized. A loss always hurts, but you have to hold yourself accountable.”
The demotion of Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas to Triple-A Omaha on Thursday prevented him from returning to the site of his major league debut and first big league home run in June 2011. Moustakas, the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, was born in Los Angeles and played his high school ball in Chattsworth.
“Mike Moustakas is a terrific talent, and he’s going to play in the major leagues for a long time,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “But sometimes you have to make some adjustment, and you have to find it again. It’s a tough decision for their organization and tough for Mike, but sometimes you have to take a half-step backward to put your career forward.”
Trout, who sat out his first game of the season on Wednesday because of a sore left hamstring, extended the Angels’ lead to 3-1 with his ninth home run leading off the third. They added two more in the sixth on Eric Aybar’s RBI single and a run-scoring double by Grant Green.
Iannetta hit his fourth homer of the season with one out in the second and No. 9 hitter Collin Cowgill hit a two-out RBI single, giving Los Angeles a 2-1 edge. Cain, the Royals’ center fielder, robbed David Freese of a three-run homer in the seventh before C.J. Cron followed with an RBI single to make it 6-1.
Wilson (6-3) allowed a run and four hits, struck out three and walked four. The left-hander also hit two batters, including Aoki with his 105th and final pitch.
“I just threw the ball as hard as I could. Sometimes when the throw as hard as you can, it’s never accurate,” Wilson said.
Wilson, coming off a 127-pitch shutout against Tampa Bay last Saturday, threw fewer than 111 pitches for the first time in 10 starts this season.
Sean Burnett retired Hosmer on a grounder to second base for the final out of the seventh, after Kevin Jepsen relieved Wilson and struck out Alcides Escobar. It was Burnett’s first appearance on a major league mound since May 26, 2013, after undergoing surgery on Aug. 7 to repair a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow.
The Angels won for the 11th time in 14 games and are a season-best seven games over .500.
NOTES: Duffy recorded his 12th pickoff since the start of the 2011 season when he caught Freese leaning too far off first base in the third. … Royals 2B Omar Infante, who hasn’t played since May 6 because of irritation in a disk in his lower back, began a rehab assignment with Omaha. … Kansas City OF Justin Maxwell cleared waivers and accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, seven days after he was designated for assignment. … Royals C Salvador Perez missed his third straight game because of a sore right hand.