Torii Hunter makes it a memorable Memorial Day for Angels
The two-run shot to left-center field, Hunter's second in as many at-bats, scored Bobby Abreu, giving him 1,000 runs batted in for his career and capping a wild game that saw the momentum swing back and forth, with the Angels scoring six runs in their final three at-bats.
The Angels had led just once before the ninth inning, with Maicer Izturis accounting for that run when was hit by a pitch, took second on a sacrifice and scored on Abreu’s single three batters into the game.
Angels starting pitcher Ervin Santana gave the run right back on the first pitch he threw, though, with Alex Gordon homering to straightaway center field. Santana then walked Melky Cabrera on four pitches before giving up a two-run homer on the first pitch to Eric Hosmer.
In the second inning, Santana loaded the bases with no outs on two walks and a hit batter. Hosmer doubled in two of those runners and Jeff Francoeur followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Royals a 6-1 lead.
That left the Angels with a big hill to climb and they got started in their next at-bat, with Abreu driving in one run with a double and Alberto Callaspo knocking in another with a single. Consecutive two-out hits by Abreu, Hunter and Callaspo in the fifth inning closed the Angels deficit to 6-4 and when Hunter hit a two-out solo homer his next time up in the seventh inning, the Angels had pulled to within a run again.
Santana, meanwhile, settled down after the second inning, allowing only four baserunners. And though he retired the side in order just once, in his final inning, he did make it to the seventh, saving a tired bullpen.
But if Santana was finished, the Royals clearly weren't, pulling away again in the seventh against Rich Thompson when Wilson Betemit tripled home Billy Butler with two outs, then scored on a Chris Getz single.
And so it was the Angels' turn to rally, with Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos both going deep in the eighth inning -- Trumbo's team-leading 10th home run a 435-foot blast into the fountains beyond the lower level of the left-field grandstands and Bourjos lining his third homer of the season just under the left-field foul pole.
Abreu, who finished with four hits, started the rally with a one-single to left. Hunter then put the Angels in front for the first time since the first inning by driving a 2-0 pitch just over the wall in left-center field. Callaspo and Russell Branyan followed with singles before Trumbo scored Callaspo with a fielder's choice grounder.
Every Angels starter reached base at least once, with Callaspo and Hunter, who had four RBIs, finishing with three hits.
Gordon, Hosmer, Betemit and Getz had two hits each for Kansas City.
-- Kevin Baxter reporting from Kansas City
Photo: Angels right fielder Torii Hunter crosses the plate following his two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Royals on Monday afternoon in Kansas City. Credit: Denny Medley / US Presswire