Published September 15, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Switch-hitter Kendrys Morales has been struggling from the right side of the plate all season.
When he pinch-hit in the eighth inning, the Royals brought in a left-hander trying to play the percentages. The move backfired.
Morales hit a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Angels rallied for a 9-7 victory over Kansas City on Friday night.
Several hours before the game, a man shot and wounded a female parking lot employee between the stadiums that are home to the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals before killing himself, police said.
The pair were both in their 40s and knew each other, but police did not elaborate on their relationship. The woman was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
There was no mention of the shooting over the public address system at Kauffman Stadium.
Morales entered the game with a .209 batting average and four home runs batting right-handed, and .290 with 14 home runs swinging left-handed.
"He's got power from both sides," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's strong. There's no doubt he can drive the ball from the right side. This year it's really clear that any opposing manager wants to get him on the right side. It's the right move to make and fortunately he came through."
Morales does not care if opponents think he is a weak right-handed hitter.
"Just let them think that," he said through an interpreter.
Morales homered on the first pitch from Tim Collins (5-3) with Mark Trumbo aboard to make it 7-all.
"That situation called for being aggressive," Morales said. "That was like a new breath of fresh air for the team."
Collins threw 11 pitches, faced four batters and retired none, allowing two singles and hitting Albert Pujols on an 0-2 count.
"I think I made a rookie mistake and gave Morales exactly what he was looking for," Collins said. "After that, I made some good pitches and they hit them. I just tried to do too much. He was looking fastball in that situation. Coming out of the bullpen I have to not give him something to hit."
Jeremy Jeffress replaced Collins and walked Torii Hunter on five pitches with the bases loaded to force home Mike Trout with the go-ahead run. Hunter is hitting .431 with 15 RBIs in his past 16 games.
"A big hit from Kendrys and a big at-bat from Torii," Scioscia said.
Jordan Walden (3-2), the fourth of six Angels pitchers, picked up the victory, although he threw only two pitches. Ernesto Frieri got his 19th save in 21 opportunities.
Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur homered for Kansas City.
The Royals took advantage of second baseman Howie Kendrick's error to score three unearned runs in the sixth. Francoeur, who was hitting just .159 in his previous 20 games, hit a two-run homer with two out. Moustakas' sacrifice fly scored the first run of the inning.
Butler and Moustakas homered in the second to give the Royals a 2-0 lead. Butler's home run, which caromed off a billboard at the top of the Royals' bullpen, was the 100th of his career. He had been stuck on 99 since Aug. 11, going 93 at-bats without a homer. Two batters later Moustakas hit his 20th home run.
Angels starter C.J. Wilson left with a 4-3 lead in the sixth and got a no-decision.
"I think he settled down after a couple of mistakes," Scioscia said. "One was to Billy Butler, he tried to force a fastball inside and didn't get it there for a home run. The next pitch was down but in the middle to Moustakas. That one wasn't really a terrible pitch. After that he settled in and got some big outs, made some good pitches."
Royals starter Bruce Chen exited with a 6-4 lead in the seventh, but the bullpen failed to maintain it.
It was the second consecutive game the Kansas City bullpen could not hold a lead, giving up three runs the final three innings in a 4-3 loss Thursday at Minnesota.
The Angels scored four times in the fourth, two on Kendrick's double and two on Alberto Callaspo's two-out single.
The Angels scored an unearned run in the ninth after center fielder Jason Bourgeois' error.
NOTES: Angels star Albert Pujols returned to first base for the first time since injuring his right leg on Aug. 22 at Boston. He missed four games after the injury and started the next 16 games as the DH before playing first against the Royals. "I think he feels comfortable with it and our medical staff feels comfortable with it," Scioscia said. "I think he's much more comfortable when he can play the field and contribute to the team." ... Hunter batted cleanup for just the 16th time this season. He had been primarily hitting second. ... RHP Zack Greinke, who won the 2009 Cy Young Award while with the Royals, will start Saturday for the Angels. RHP Jeremy Guthrie, who is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his past seven starts, will start for the Royals.