Kennedy fans 10 in rotation's latest gem

Kennedy fans 10 in rotation's latest gem

KANSAS CITY -- Another day, another brilliant outing from a Royals starter.

Although it's obviously early, Kansas City's rotation has been the biggest surprise 12 games into the season.

Right-hander Ian Kennedy threw eight innings in the Royals' 1-0 win over the Angels on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, lowering his ERA to 2.37. That performance lowered the rotation's ERA to 2.31 -- best in the Majors.

"I know we have pride in that," Kennedy said. "We pull for each other. As a team, we're pretty close, but especially our starters. It's going to be a fun year if we can continue this."

The sizzling start by the Royals' staff has come at the right time as the offense continues to struggle, averaging just 3.1 runs per game. But Kansas City's fourth straight win on Sunday evened the club's overall mark to 6-6.

"We just want to keep plugging away until the offense catches up, and then we can go on a roll," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Kennedy gave up two hits, walked two and struck out 10.

"He threw the ball well," Angels slugger Albert Pujols said. "He kept the ball down and obviously kept us off-balance. That's pretty much it."

Cain's great catch at the wall

The key for Kennedy was his fastball command.

"Really commanded his fastball well," Yost said. "He's got that late life on it that makes a 92-93 [mph] fastball look like 96-97."

Kennedy didn't allow a hit until two outs in the fifth when C.J. Cron doubled to left. Kennedy said he was aware he had a no-hitter going.

"A little bit," Kennedy said. "You go through the lineup and you keep track of who you're facing, what part of the order you're up against."

Cuthbert's smooth diving play

As it turned out, Kennedy had to be good to keep the Royals in it. His counterpart, Tyler Skaggs, threw seven shutout innings.

"He's actually my old teammate and an old mentor of mine with the Diamondbacks, so of course I'm watching him," Skaggs said. "I actually texted him right after I came in. I said, 'That was a hell of a battle.' And hopefully I'll pitch against him next time at home and come out with a W."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.