KANSAS CITY (AP) — Albert Pujols homered and drove in three runs, Ian Kinsler had three hits and a sacrifice fly that scored Shohei Ohtani with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Angels rallied to beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 on Friday night.
The Angels have won six straight and nine of 10. Their 12-3 start matches their best record after 15 games, set in 1979.
Zack Cozart and Ohtani, who doubled in his first at-bat, led off the eighth with singles off Justin Grimm (0-2). After Andrelton Simmons advanced the runners with a bunt, Luis Valbuena’s pinch-single scored Cozart and moved Ohtani to third. Kinsler’s flyout to center drove in Ohtani.
Blake Wood (1-0) worked a spotless seventh to pick up the victory. Keynan Middleton pitched the ninth for his third save in as many opportunities.
Pujols hit a two-run homer in the third with Kinsler aboard. Pujols’ two-out single in the seventh scored Kinsler.
Paulo Orlando had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run to lead the Royals. Lucas Duda had three singles and scored a run.
Royals starter Jason Hammel held the Angels to two runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney, who had elbow surgery last year, allowed four runs — one unearned — and seven hits over five innings in his first start. He walked one and struck out seven.
ANGELS’ PREFERRED LINEUP
For the first time this season, the Angels’ lineup included Kinsler, Cozart and Ohtani with the other six position players. Ohtani moved up to the seventh spot for the first time after batting eighth in his previous six DH starts. While Kinsler was on the disabled list, the Angels went 9-3 with Cozart leading off. Manager Mike Scioscia, however, opted to put Kinsler back at the top of the order, with Cozart batting sixth. “There was a lot of discussion of Coz staying there, but in the big picture of where we want to be in the long term, it has Ian leading off and Coz in a role hopefully with some guys on base,” Scioscia said.
Angels: RHP Felix Pena was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake to make roster space for Heaney.
Royals: RHP Brandon Maurer was optioned to Triple-A Omaha with an 0-2 record, a 12.46 ERA and allowing three home runs in 4 1/3 innings. He allowed three inherited runners to score Thursday on a triple by Ohtani. “I think it was obvious to everybody that the time was right,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s a better pitcher than that. He’s a guy that should be an eighth-inning guy. He’s a guy that should be able to close out games on days your closer needs a day. He’s got that really good stuff. It’s just he’s off kilter and out of whack. He just needs to go get some confidence, have some success and come back up and take that position.” RHP Kevin McCarthy was called up from the Storm Chasers.
Royals: Yost said C Salvador Perez (left knee sprain) would likely begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend. … OF Alex Gordon hit in the cages and did some soft toss in his first activity since Monday when he was diagnosed with a left hip labral tear.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards will make his first start at Kauffman Stadium since August 13, 2015.
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis has not given up a run over 14 innings in his first two starts.
(@Copyright 2018. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)