KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Josh Hamilton is starting to warm up along with the weather.
Hamilton started the Angels’ comeback when he homered leading off the seventh inning, and Los Angeles beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 Sunday for its eighth straight win.
Los Angeles trailed 2-0 before Hamilton homered on the first pitch of the seventh from Wade Davis (3-4), giving the former AL MVP home runs in consecutive games for only the third time since signing with the Angels during the offseason. Hamilton has five RBIs in his past five games after driving in five in his previous 39.
“It’s good to see him driving him the ball,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He started things off. His power is important to us no doubt.”
The Angels were unable to get into their dugout until about 90 minutes before the game because bees swarmed into it. A beekeeper was summoned to solve the problem.
Jerome Williams (4-1) then allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings for the Angels, on their longest winning streak since taking eight straight from May 22-29 last year. When they play at the Freeway Series rival Dodgers on Monday, they can stretch a winning streak to nine for the first time since August 2004.
Kansas City has lost nine of 10 and 16 of 20, dropping to 21-26. In only three of those 16 losses have the Royals scored more than three runs.
Plate umpire Marty Foster ejected Kansas City’s Billy Butler for yelling from the dugout in the sixth, an inning after the designated hitter was called out on strikes and had words with Foster. Scioscia was tossed by Foster in the ninth.
“I’m not the only one who had a disagreement with him in this series,” Butler said. “He said some things to me I didn’t like and it got me fired up. Whenever I went and looked at video, it made me more mad. In the heat of the moment you react. It takes it to a different level. That’s unfortunate and I will try to control my emotions a little better. I’m not going to say it isn’t going to happen again, but it’s unfortunate.”
After Hamilton’s home run, Davis walked two of his next three batters, Bruce Chen relieved, and J.B. Shuck and Erick Aybar hit consecutive RBI singles for a 3-2 lead.
“He was throwing a pretty good game and then when Josh hit that homer everything started turning around,” Williams said. “We already know our bats are there. Everybody is getting hot, not just Josh. That’s what we need. We need Josh to get back.”
Luke Hochevar walked Mark Trumbo and hit Howie Kendrick with a pitch in the eighth, and Shuck and Chris Iannetta hit consecutive run-scoring singles against Aaron Crow.
Williams improved to 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his last four starts. Sean Burnett, who replaced Williams, threw only 10 pitches and left with left forearm tightness. Burnett came off the disabled list last week after missing 22 games with left forearm irritation. Scioscia said “we’ll see in 24 hours” the extent of Burnett’s injury.
Ernesto Frieri pitched an eventful ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances, getting in trouble when he walked Chris Getz and gave up Alcides Escobar’s third hit of the game. Alex Gordon struck out, Jeff Francoeur flied out in a 12-pitch at-bat and Eric Hosmer grounded out, ending the 28-pitch innings.
Davis did not allow a runner past second in the first six innings.
“We got into trouble in the seventh,” Davis said. “The walks put us in a bad spot. The biggest goal is to keep it at zero. With the way we’ve been playing, we needed a win.”
Kansas City built its lead on David Lough’s two-out RBI triple in the second and a run-scoring throwing error by Williams on a pickoff attempt at first with runners at the corners in the fifth. George Kottaras drew his 10th walk in his 35th plate appearance and swiped second for his first steal since June 22, 2010.
“We haven’t played well and we know it,” Butler said. “I’ll stand up and say we’re not playing the way we can. It’s frustrating. A lot of guys in here are frustrated.”
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