The Kansas City Royals continued their warpath through the American League by completing their series sweep over the Los Angeles Angels with a9-2 victory on Sunday. With the win, the Royals have now won 15 straight games against AL opponents going back to last year’s postseason.
The Angels got on board early thanks to a solo home run by first baseman Albert Pujols off the 98 MPH fastball of Royals starter Yordano Ventura in the bottom of the first. That was his 522nd career homer and it moves him up ahead of Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas for 18th on the all-time home run list.
The Royals roared back in the second inning with back-to-back singles by Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios to set up a game-tying RBI single by catcher Salvador Perez. Omar Infante’s grounder passes by Angels third baseman David Freese’s, allowing the Royals to score another run to take the 2-1 lead. That was immediately followed by a fly ball by shortstop Alcides Escobar, which bounced off the right field wall for an RBI double to make it 4-1.
Wilson recovered well and suppressed the Royals bats in the third and forth inning. With his slider-curveball combo, he fooled Morales to strikeout swinging and forced ground balls from the rest of the lineup. Then Rios hit a two run RBI double to make it 6-1 in the fifth inning.
The Royals continued their relentless punishment on the Angels. Left fielder Paulo Orlando hit a triple to lead off the sixth inning and scored on a sacrifice fly from Escobar to make it 7-2.
Wilson left the game after giving up seven runs (six earned) on nine hits in 5.2 innings pitched. He walked only one batter while striking out four. The line suggests that Wilson showed poor mechanics in his second start. In reality, he just ran into a buzz saw.
“I don’t think he threw the ball poorly today,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Ventura was poised and dominant throughout the first five innings of the game. The Pujols homer was his only hit and run allowed and he also struck out seven Angels during that stretch. He then started to lose his poise after back-to-back hits by Mike Trout and Pujols to score the Angels’ second run of the game.
Ventura saw something in Trout that he did not like during the sixth inning and it escalated to the point of both benches and bullpens clearing and meeting on the field after Trout scored from first base and screamed out the generic battle cry in front of Ventura.
“I got a base hit, and when I got to first base, he was staring at me,” Trout said. “I don’t think I did anything wrong.”
“Trout just said, ‘Let’s go,’ and Ventura was there at home, kinda eyeing him down,” said left fielder Matt Joyce, who witnessed the situation from the on-deck circle. “Trout noticed him eyeing him down and just said, ‘Are you alright?’ And that was it. That was the extent of it. Salvador [Perez] got in [Ventura’s] face and backed him off. It was really weird. I don’t know what he was thinking. It was very peculiar.
“Maybe [Ventura] just misunderstood him, or thought he was going to say something else. It’s just weird. Ventura brushed him off a little bit and Trout hit one right back at him. I think he got mad at that. Like you can really control where you’re gonna hit a 90 mile-an-hour fastball. Maybe Trout can. But most of us can’t.”
“That confrontation was between Ventura against Mike [Trout],” Scioscia said. “It’s all on him. Believe me, it’s on Ventura.”
Through shortstop and interpreter Christian Colon, Ventura filed his behavior under, “It’s just baseball,” and, “It’s called competing.”
No ejections were made mainly because Perez’s diplomatic initiative.
“I just told [Ventura] to get back to baseball,” Perez said. “I don’t want him to fight. I told him, ‘Don’t get crazy.'”
Ventura would late leave the game for the second time this season due to cramping.This time, the cramping was in his right calf. Ventura left the game giving up just two runs on four hits on seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched.
“I will get with the trainers to see how to fix [the cramps],” Ventura said.
Perez hit a solo home run in the seventh inning and an RBI double by Infante ended the game’s scoring.Chris Young pitched the final two innings, giving up just one hit while recording one strikeout.
The Angeles head out to Texas to take on the Rangers while the Royals take their hurricane of hits to Minnesota to terrorize the Twins.
Tony Capobianco started the SMDP column “Cap Space” just in time for the 2014-15 Clippers season. You can contact him via email at email@example.com.