Angels Drop Hapless Royals To 8-18

Tuesday, May 1st 2007, 7:34 am
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ After completing their best April in three years, the Kansas City Royals weren't exactly popping champagne.

A 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night left them 8-18 for the season's first month.

Progress? Not quite.

In April 2006, the Royals were 5-17, and went 6-18 two years ago.

``It's my job to figure it out,'' said a grim-faced manager Buddy Bell. ``And I have not done a very good job of it. I'm not taking sole responsibility, but I'm certainly taking my share of it.''

The Royals had their chances against John Lackey (4-2).

Lackey gave up eight hits, but only one run, while striking out seven. The Angels turned three double plays and the Royals left four runners in scoring position. They also had a runner thrown out at home when Ryan Shealy tried to score from second on a single.

``A lot of it is just sticking with people and believing that it's going to be OK,'' Bell said. ``We will figure it out.''

Odalis Perez (2-3) gave up a two-run double high off the center-field wall to Vladimir Guerrero in the first inning and went six innings, giving up three runs on 10 hits. He struck out four and walked just one.

Todd Wellemeyer pitched three perfect relief innings for the Royals, retiring all nine batters he faced on just 27 pitches.

In the only other AL games, Detroit beat Baltimore 8-4; and Toronto topped Texas 6-1.

With nine games left in their longest homestand of the season, the Royals know they need to pull out of their tailspin.

``The next few days are really going to be important for us,'' Wellemeyer said. ``If we can pull together and get everything working _ starting pitching, relief pitching, hitting, defense. This series and the next are very important.''

Only once in his four victories have Lackey's teammates been able to muster more than four runs. His wins have been 4-1, 2-1, 9-1 and 3-1.

``That's kind of the way it's been for me the last couple of years,'' he said. ``I've got to pitch pretty good to win.''

Lackey got a bit lucky when Ross Gload hit a sharp liner up the middle in the fourth. The ball struck Lackey's left foot and bounced straight to first baseman Robb Quinlan, who picked up the ball and made the tag.

``John had a little bit of a second wind after he got hit in the foot,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ``It was a little bit sore. He got a little second wind, but he had to work hard to get out of the sixth.''

Aided by one of the Angels' three double plays, Lackey retired the Royals in the third, fourth and fifth innings on 32 pitches. In the sixth, he had runners at first and third but struck out Gload to end the inning.

Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his ninth save in 10 chances as the AL West leaders went to 3-1 on this seven-game road trip to Chicago and Kansas City.

Poise under pressure has become a hallmark of Lackey, Scioscia said.

``I think that's the growth we've seen in John since he came up. He gets the next pitch much better. The score doesn't affect him. He knows the only thing he can control is his making a pitch. I think as time goes on, he's gotten a lot more comfortable with that.''

Chone Figgins, playing his first game since breaking two fingers in spring training, drove in the Angels' third run in his second at-bat and also started a nifty double play in the sixth.

``That was huge for me. I had some big guys coming up,'' Lackey said. ``He's the guy who makes things happen for us. I'm glad to have him back. And he's pretty excited to be back. He was pretty bummed being in the dugout and in the clubhouse at the beginning of the season.''

Tigers 8, Orioles 4

At Detroit, Gary Sheffield homered off Daniel Cabrera two innings after the Baltimore starter hit him with a pitch, leading the Tigers over the Orioles.

Cabrera hit Sheffield in the third inning, and the two had to be pulled apart during a bench-clearing incident in the fifth before Sheffield broke a tie with a two-run homer estimated at 408 feet. Sheffield watched the drive sail into the left-field stands from the plate before he slowly trotted around the bases.

Detroit right-hander Jeremy Bonderman (1-0) picked up his first decision of the season in his sixth start, allowing four runs and nine hits with a walk in five-plus innings. Fernando Rodney pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings for his first save.

Cabrera (1-3) issued a season-high six walks in five innings and has walked 11 in his last two starts. He allowed five runs and four hits as his winless streak stretched to four.

Jay Gibbons chased Bonderman with a homer leading off the sixth, but Detroit put the game away with three runs in the seventh.

Blue Jays 6, Rangers 1

At Toronto, Roy Halladay threw a five-hitter and Aaron Hill hit a two-run homer for Toronto.

Troy Glaus and rookie Adam Lind also homered for the Blue Jays.

Halladay (4-0) struck out eight and walked none in his second complete game of the season. He went 10 innings in his first, leading Toronto to a 2-1 victory over Detroit on April 13. Halladay has worked at least seven innings in each of his past five starts.

Vicente Padilla (0-4) gave up four runs and six hits over seven innings.

The Rangers got their only run in the first when Kenny Lofton singled, stole second and third and scored on a two-out double by Sammy Sosa.