The Los Angeles Angels hope C.J. Wilson can continue to pitch well and help his team begin a run in the positive direction.
That's if they can improve their recent play in Kansas City.
The left-hander tries to win a fourth consecutive start Friday night when the Angels open a three-game series against the Royals.
Wilson (12-9, 3.69 ERA) has posted a 2.41 ERA while winning three straight starts following an 11-game stretch where he went 0-5 with a 6.09 ERA. He gave up an unearned run and four hits in 7 2-3 innings to outpitch reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander in Saturday's 6-1 win over Detroit.
"He was in the zone early for the most part, threw some good breaking balls in some counts to get guys out, and I think he commanded both sides of the plate, good movement on his pitches and was aggressive in the zone," manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels' official website. "That's when he's at his best."
Wilson has usually been on top of his game against Kansas City, going 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in four starts. He allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings but did not factor in the decision of a 6-3 home win over the Royals on July 23.
Los Angeles (78-66), which avoided a four-game sweep against Oakland with a 6-0 win Thursday, is making its first trip this season to Kansas City, where it's lost five of six.
Torii Hunter had three hits, including his 15th homer, Thursday for the Angels, who are 3 1/2 games out of the final wild-card spot in the AL. Hunter has batted .435 (27 for 62) with three homers and 14 RBIs in his last 15 games."Because we're close to the playoffs, I think I go to another level and get that different adrenaline flow in the second half," Hunter said. "That's what drives me."
Though Hunter has hit .360 (9 for 25) with a homer and five RBIs as the Angels have split six games with the Royals in 2012, he's 3 for 15 with a double and a home run versus Bruce Chen (10-12, 5.36).
The left-hander hopes to keep ball in the park after he allowed seven home runs over 12 innings while losing his last two starts. Chen yielded five runs and three homers in six innings of a 5-4 loss at Chicago on Saturday."It's hard to say that he's throwing the ball good, but he's actually throwing the ball OK," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The homers are just hurting him."
Chen, 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA in six starts versus Los Angeles, has posted a 2.38 ERA in two outings against the Angels this season.
Kansas City (65-78) hopes to bounce back after it blew a two-run, eighth-inning lead and fell 4-3 in 10 innings at Minnesota on Thursday.
Billy Butler , 5 for 10 with four RBIs in the last two games, has hit .333 (8 for 24) with two homers and four RBIs in his last six home contests versus Los Angeles. However, he's 3 for 14 (.214) with a double against Wilson.
|Los Angeles Angels|
|August 30, 2012||Howie Kendrick||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right knee|
|August 22, 2012||Albert Pujols||Day-to-Day||Left game - right calf tightness|
|August 19, 2012||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Sore right wrist|
|August 19, 2012||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Sore right wrist|
|August 13, 2012||C.J. Wilson||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left hand|
|July 30, 2012||Mark Trumbo||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|Kansas City Royals|
|September 14, 2012||Lorenzo Cain||Day-to-Day||Left game - Strained right hamstring|
|August 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Broken left thumb|
|August 17, 2012||Chris Getz||Day-to-Day||Left game - fractured left thumb|
|July 28, 2012||Mike Moustakas||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right knee|
|July 05, 2012||Luke Hochevar||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Switch-hitter Kendrys Morales has been struggling from the right side of the plate all season.
When he pinch-hit in the eighth inning, the Royals brought in a left-hander trying to play the percentages. The move backfired.
Morales hit a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Angels rallied for a 9-7 victory over Kansas City on Friday night.
Several hours before the game, a man shot and wounded a female parking lot employee between the stadiums that are home to the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals before killing himself, police said.
The pair were both in their 40s and knew each other, but police did not elaborate on their relationship. The woman was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
There was no mention of the shooting over the public address system at Kauffman Stadium.
Morales entered the game with a .209 batting average and four home runs batting right-handed, and .290 with 14 home runs swinging left-handed.
"He's got power from both sides," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's strong. There's no doubt he can drive the ball from the right side. This year it's really clear that any opposing manager wants to get him on the right side. It's the right move to make and fortunately he came through."
Morales does not care if opponents think he is a weak right-handed hitter.
"Just let them think that," he said through an interpreter.
Morales homered on the first pitch from Tim Collins (5-3) with Mark Trumbo aboard to make it 7-all.
"That situation called for being aggressive," Morales said. "That was like a new breath of fresh air for the team."
Collins threw 11 pitches, faced four batters and retired none, allowing two singles and hitting Albert Pujols on an 0-2 count.
"I think I made a rookie mistake and gave Morales exactly what he was looking for," Collins said. "After that, I made some good pitches and they hit them. I just tried to do too much. He was looking fastball in that situation. Coming out of the bullpen I have to not give him something to hit."
Jeremy Jeffress replaced Collins and walked Torii Hunter on five pitches with the bases loaded to force home Mike Trout with the go-ahead run. Hunter is hitting .431 with 15 RBIs in his past 16 games.
"A big hit from Kendrys and a big at-bat from Torii," Scioscia said.
Jordan Walden (3-2), the fourth of six Angels pitchers, picked up the victory, although he threw only two pitches. Ernesto Frieri got his 19th save in 21 opportunities.
Billy Butler , Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur homered for Kansas City.
The Royals took advantage of second baseman Howie Kendrick 's error to score three unearned runs in the sixth. Francoeur, who was hitting just .159 in his previous 20 games, hit a two-run homer with two out. Moustakas' sacrifice fly scored the first run of the inning.
Butler and Moustakas homered in the second to give the Royals a 2-0 lead. Butler's home run, which caromed off a billboard at the top of the Royals' bullpen, was the 100th of his career. He had been stuck on 99 since Aug. 11, going 93 at-bats without a homer. Two batters later Moustakas hit his 20th home run.
Angels starter C.J. Wilson left with a 4-3 lead in the sixth and got a no-decision.
"I think he settled down after a couple of mistakes," Scioscia said. "One was to Billy Butler , he tried to force a fastball inside and didn't get it there for a home run. The next pitch was down but in the middle to Moustakas. That one wasn't really a terrible pitch. After that he settled in and got some big outs, made some good pitches."
Royals starter Bruce Chen exited with a 6-4 lead in the seventh, but the bullpen failed to maintain it.
It was the second consecutive game the Kansas City bullpen could not hold a lead, giving up three runs the final three innings in a 4-3 loss Thursday at Minnesota.
The Angels scored four times in the fourth, two on Kendrick's double and two on Alberto Callaspo 's two-out single.
The Angels scored an unearned run in the ninth after center fielder Jason Bourgeois ' error.
NOTES: Angels star Albert Pujols returned to first base for the first time since injuring his right leg on Aug. 22 at Boston. He missed four games after the injury and started the next 16 games as the DH before playing first against the Royals. "I think he feels comfortable with it and our medical staff feels comfortable with it," Scioscia said. "I think he's much more comfortable when he can play the field and contribute to the team." ... Hunter batted cleanup for just the 16th time this season. He had been primarily hitting second. ... RHP Zack Greinke , who won the 2009 Cy Young Award while with the Royals, will start Saturday for the Angels. RHP Jeremy Guthrie , who is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his past seven starts, will start for the Royals.