Angels win 7th in row, beat KC 5-3 in snow; Ohtani up next
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Even wintry weather couldn’t cool off the streaking Los Angeles Angels.
Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Luis Valbuena homered as the Angels won their seventh straight, beating the Kansas City Royals 5-3 Saturday night while playing the final innings in the snow.
The Angels won their ninth consecutive road game, and will have Shohei Ohtani as their starting pitcher Sunday. The Royals have lost five straight.
“Just raw,” Trout said of the conditions. “The first couple of innings were all right and then it got a little windy. The last couple of ABs, it was tough to see and, obviously, you can’t feel your hands. It was a battle, but it was a big win for us. It was definitely one of the coldest games I’ve ever played.
“Standing in the outfield it was ... I love snow, but, whew, it was tough. I think the biggest thing was the wind. Obviously snow in your face, but once that wind changed a little bit, it was blowing in your face at the plate. There were a few pitches my last at-bat I couldn’t even see,” he said.
Trout hit his AL-leading sixth homer, a two-run drive in the fifth off Jakob Junis (2-1).
“I get two out and then walk the leadoff hitter (Zack Cozart) on four pitches after I had struck him out twice,” Junis said. “You can’t do that and then you have Trout up next.”
Upton homered to lead off the fourth. Valbuena snapped Junis’ 16-inning scoreless streak with a leadoff drive in the third.
“It was pretty bad,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of the weather. “The conditions were brutal for both teams. I don’t know what the wind chill was, but I guarantee it was in the 20s and that snow. There was one pop where Esky (shortstop Alcides Escobar) said it looked like there were all baseballs up there. It was difficult conditions.”
Angels right-hander Garrett Richards (2-0) did not allow a runner until the fifth, when he walked Lucas Duda to start the inning. Paulo Orlando got Kansas City’s first hit with one out and Duda wound up scoring on one of Richards’ three wild pitches in the inning.
“Every day we show up we expect to win and right now we’re doing this, so we’re just going to ride this momentum and go get them tomorrow,” Richards said.
Keynan Middleton worked the ninth for his fourth save in as many chances.
Drew Butera had an RBI single in the seventh that made it 5-2, but Whit Merrifield flied out with the bases full to end the inning. Mike Moustakas homered to lead off the Kansas City eighth.
Merrifield started in center field for the first time in his career. He has also started at second, first, right and DH in the first 13 Royals games.
The Angels used nine starters in their first 15 games. “We’ll be at a six-man rotation next week sometime,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. RHP Parker Bridwell, who made 20 starts last season and went 10-3, is the probable contender to join the rotation.
Royals: C Salvador Perez (left knee strain) joined Double-A Northwest Arkansas for a rehab assignment. ... OF Bubba Starling, who has a left oblique strain, will return to the field Monday in extended spring. ... INF Adalberto Mondesi (right shoulder impingement) returned to the field at extended spring training. Assistant GM J.J. Picollo said they want to get Starling and Mondesi about 40 at-bats before sending them out on a rehab assignment. ... Orlando has a tender knee and was the DH.
Angels: Ohtani, who didn’t bat Saturday night, will make his third big league start, all on Sundays. He is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA, beating Oakland twice. The weather forecast calls for temperatures in the 30s with a 20 mph wind. “I grew up, I was born in a cold place,” Ohtani said through a translator. “Playing a game like that, I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced that cold.”
Royals: LHP Eric Skoglund is looking for his first win since his big league debut on May 30, 2017.