With their winning streak up to a season-high seven games, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will try to complete a series sweep over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
Pitching was the story for the Angels on Saturday, as five hurlers combined for a four-hit shutout and a 7-0 victory in the third contest of this four- game series.
Billy Buckner (1-0) earned his first big league win since 2009, giving up just two hits and three walks over five innings of work. Dane De La Rosa, Scott Downs, Robert Coello and Michael Kohn pitched an inning apiece to complete the shutout effort.
Hank Conger got the scoring started in the sixth inning with a solo shot. Josh Hamilton later added his seventh homer of the year, while Mike Trout scored two runs and stole a base for the third straight game.
After starting the season by losing 22 of their first 33 games, the Angels have finally started playing up to their lofty expectations, outscoring teams 54-18 during their current seven-game spurt.
"(The winning streak) hasn't changed the expectations at all," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Obviously, confidence as a team builds as you start to move in the right direction. Right now these guys feel good because we're playing the type of baseball we had hoped we would play the first month, but it didn't appear."
On the losing end of things was Jeremy Guthrie, who, despite pitching into the eighth inning, was charged with six earned runs.
Mike Moustakas had the Royals only extra-base hit with a double in the fifth.
The Royals have lost eight of their last nine since taking two of three from the Angels on May 13-15.
On Sunday, Jerome Williams will attempt to continue his strong season for the Angels. After starting the season in the bullpen, Williams has played his way into the rotation in the early going, sporting a 3-1 record with a 2.53 ERA.
Williams had his best outing of the year in Angels' 12-0 rout of the Mariners on May 21. The right-hander pitched eight scoreless innings in the win, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out six.
For the Royals, Wade Davis will toe the rubber for the 10th time this season. After finding great success as a reliever with the Rays in 2012 (2.43 ERA in 54 appearances), Davis (3-3) has struggled in his return to the rotation with a new team, as he sits with a 5.91 ERA while allowing opposing batters to hit .351 against him.
Davis was able to keep his woes in check in his latest outing, surrendering three runs over five innings of work in a May 21 no-decision against the Astros.
The 6-foot-5 right-hander faced the Angels on May 15 and earned the win despite allowing nine hits, three walks and four earned runs in less than six innings.