Last year in the Royals lone trip to Anaheim, Joe Saunders outdueled Zack Greinke, winning 1-0 on a night when both starters threw complete game gems. The Royals again faced Saunders in Anaheim and the results weren’t much different – until Saunders came out of the game.
Kyle Davies stuck with him mostly, going 7.2 innings and giving up only one run. He walked three and gave up seven hits but managed to scatter them so they did little damage, as the Angels scored their only run on three consecutive singles. They out-Royaled the Royals, as all nine hits were singles and as a team they hit 1-7 with runners in scoring position.
The Royals offense didn’t get much of anything going on Saunders, who had four 1-2-3 innings and worked around baserunners the rest of the time. In the ninth, he walked Billy Butler and came out of the game after 111 pitches, giving way to closer Brian Fuentes. Bloomquist pinch-ran for Butler and after two outs, stole second with Mike Aviles at the plate. With Bloomquist on second, Aviles doubled to center tying the game with two outs.
In the tenth, the Royals led off with a Yuniesky Betancourt single and advanced him to third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout to first (how about that Jose Guillen?). Then the earlier decision to pinch run for Butler (which was necessary to get speed in place as the tying run) could have come back to haunt the Royals. The Angels intentionally walked David DeJesus to get to Willie Bloomquist, who promptly singled in the go-ahead run. Joakim Soria worked a perfect ninth inning to preserve the game.
The pitching really came through, as the Royals aren’t going to score two runs and win very often. It was a fortunate win that I’m sure has Angels fans going crazy about in similar ways that Royals fans go crazy about poor offensive games against barely average starters.