THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 24, 2023 at 15:24 JST
Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani hits a sacrifice fly during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals on April 23 in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo)
ANAHEIM, Calif.--Taylor Ward, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani hit consecutive homers in the sixth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
Trout also had two doubles for the Angels, who managed only one hit in the first five innings against Jordan Lyles (0-4) before the heart of their order unloaded on the Kansas City starter during a nine-pitch span.
Ward’s drive into the short left-field porch was followed by Trout’s fifth homer of the year and Ohtani’s 415-foot blast to center for his own fifth homer. Los Angeles hadn’t hit back-to-back-to-back homers since June 8, 2019.
“It was good to see some quality at-bats, and obviously Shohei hitting a homer,” Trout said. “We gave Hunter Renfroe a little stuff because he couldn’t hit a homer (after the three straight). No, it’s all fun to get a good pitch to hit and put the barrel on it.”
Ohtani had two hits and two RBIs, and Ward scored two runs in the Angels’ second victory in five games. All three home-run hitters appeared to be revitalized after recent tough stretches on offense.
“We look at (Trout and Ohtani) like they’re Superman, and they’re human,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “They get tired. The last two nights, that’s the Mike we know. His bat has been flying through the zone.”
MJ Melendez, Vinnie Pasquantino and Bobby Witt Jr. connected for the Royals, who opened their 10-game trip by losing two of three in Anaheim. Kansas City has lost eight of nine and 11 of 13.
Lyles yielded four hits over six innings with five strikeouts.
“I know at least two of (the Angels’ homers) were off-speed pitches, and two of them were also two-strike pitches, so you give them credit,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “They put good swings on pitches when they were behind in the count. Those are three really good hitters, and Jordan did a heck of a job limiting the damage over six innings. You’re facing three of the best hitters in the game there, and that’s what they do.”
Reid Detmers yielded seven hits while pitching into the sixth for the Angels. Austin Warren (1-0) gave up Witt’s homer in the seventh during his second appearance of the season, and Carlos Estevez got his third save with a six-pitch ninth inning.
Melendez homered in the first, but Ward scored on Ohtani’s flyout later in the inning after advancing on Trout’s double.
Pasquantino delivered his fourth homer in the top of the sixth before the Angels’ barrage.
Ward had been in a 2-for-27 skid before his homer. He didn’t start Saturday night for the first time this season.
“It was a pretty cool moment, and definitely a difference-maker,” Ward said. “Definitely boosts your confidence a little bit.”
Three homers gave the Royals ample opportunity to use their new home run helmet--a silver chapeau resembling a medieval knight’s headgear that they placed on the home-run hitter’s head upon his return to the dugout.
The Angels are pioneers in this field, trading in last year’s home-run cowboy hat this spring for a large samurai helmet suggested by Ohtani.
Freddy Fermín got his first major league hit with a single in the third for Kansas City. The 27-year-old Venezuelan catcher is batting .293 at Triple-A Omaha, and he got a chance in the majors this weekend with Franmil Reyes on the paternity list.
Royals: Melendez left in the fourth inning with lower back tightness. Hunter Dozier replaced him in right field.
Angels: Promising rookie C Logan O’Hoppe will be sidelined for four to six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. O’Hoppe was off to an outstanding start after seizing the Halos’ starting job behind the plate out of spring training, but he injured himself last week.
Royals: Brad Keller (2-2, 3.00 ERA) takes the mound when Kansas City continues its road trip in Arizona on Monday.
Angels: Jose Suarez (0-1, 9.26 ERA) has a golden opportunity to get his disappointing season on track when the struggling Oakland Athletics open a four-game series at the Big A on Monday.
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