By Alden Gonzalez and Jeffrey Flanagan
KANSAS CITY -- Kendrys Morales singled in Ben Zobrist with the winning run off Angels reliever Trevor Gott with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Royals a 4-3 win on Sunday. The Royals took three out of four in the series.
"Our fans were on fire in the ninth and 10th innings," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That electricity keeps us going. ... I don't see crowds like this around the league. The Missouri fans are great. The St. Louis fans are great, but not as vocal and exciting as our fans."
Alex Rios hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth after Angels closer Huston Street walked the bases loaded (one intentional). Angels center fielder Mike Trout made a nice running catch on a drive by Paulo Orlando with runners at the corners and two outs to force extra innings, but the Angels ultimately lost for the 17th time in their last 23 games.
"There's no doubt no one feels good when you're grinding and you don't get it done," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, his team now 3 1/2 games behind the Astros in the American League West and a half-game behind the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot. "There's a lot you can point to that we didn't do well enough, and still having a chance to win in the end? Sure, it stings, but we'll be ready to play tomorrow."
Kole Calhoun tripled and homered for the Angels, David Murphy also went deep, and left-hander Hector Santiago delivered seven strong innings. Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura was solid for the second straight outing. He went seven innings, giving up five hits and two runs. He walked one and struck out seven.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Walk the line: Street intentionally walked Mike Moustakas with a runner on second and one out in the bottom of the ninth to set up the double play and, more important, to face catcher Drew Butera, who entered batting .198. Butera fell behind in the count, 1-2, but fouled off a tough pitch and drew three balls to take the walk, loading the bases and setting it up for the Royals to tie it.
"That was key," Street said. "I had him 1-2, two on -- I usually win that battle. I just kept missing down, and he didn't offer. That at-bat, more than the [Eric] Hosmer at-bat, frustrated me."
Trout reels one in: Trout temporarily saved the game with a running, stumbling catch in the gap in right-center in the ninth inning. The Royals had runners on the corners and two outs after Rios' game-tying sacrifice fly, and Orlando followed with a line drive that was tailing away from Trout. Orlando put up his hands in celebration, thinking he had won the game, only to realize Trout had made the catch.
"As soon as he hit it, it's one of those balls where I just needed to get after it and get it," Trout said. "Off the bat, I thought it was going to be a tough one to catch, but I just got to a spot where I knew I could get a glove on it, and I caught it."
Quick start: As they did for most of this four-game series, the Royals jumped on the Angels early. Alcides Escobar led off with a single to center and scored on a line-drive double to left by Zobrist that left fielder David DeJesus seemed to misread. After a Lorenzo Cain groundout moved Zobrist to third, the Angels brought in their infield. But Hosmer rolled a single through the 5-6 hole, and the Royals had a two-run lead. Hosmer has at least one RBI in 10 straight games, the longest active streak in the Majors. The club record is 13, set by Mike Sweeney in 1999.
"Hector Santiago is an All-Star pitcher," Yost said. "I knew going in he was going to be really, really tough. He got his groove on after the first inning. He kept getting quick outs. But we kept plugging away."
Settling in: Santiago surrendered three hits to his first four batters, but none to his next 23. After putting the Angels in an early two-run hole, Santiago reeled off 6 1/3 no-hit innings, retiring 19 of his final 23 batters. In the sixth, Cain's sharp grounder slipped under the glove of third baseman Conor Gillaspie for a two-base error, but Santiago struck out Hosmer looking, then intentionally walked Morales and got Moustakas to fly out to center.
"A good mix of pitches; everything was used," Santiago said. "I was ahead in the count. Chris [Iannetta] was on today, man. Chris caught a great game right there. I think I shook him off one time tonight. Every time I thought of something, he was ahead of me."
"We have to play together. We have to get something going. We have to get a sense of urgency going. We have to come to the park ready to win every day. We're playing good ball; we're right there with everybody. These are some tough games, a tough road trip. We've got to pull together as a team and turn this thing around." -- Calhoun, on the Angels' struggles
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Royals catcher Salvador Perez was called out on a fastball that appeared to cut the plate in half at the knees. Perez argued and was tossed by home-plate umpire Quinn Wolcott. It was Perez's first career ejection. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Angels: The Angels begin a seven-game homestand on Monday, with Andrew Heaney (5-1, 2.53 ERA) starting against fellow lefty Carlos Rodon (5-4, 4.61 ERA). Heaney's previous start came against the White Sox, in Chicago on Wednesday; he gave up two runs on six hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings.
Royals: After an off-day on Monday, the Royals open a two-game set in Cincinnati on Tuesday, with right-hander Edinson Volquez (11-7, 3.27 ERA) getting the start. He's coming off a 7-4 loss to Detroit, though he had a two-run lead entering the eighth inning. He allowed five earned runs through seven-plus innings.