Baseball / Sports

Hot Angels trounce Royals, 6-1

ANAHEIM, Calif.--The Angels' win over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night followed the same formula as most of their victories during their torrid 14-game stretch.

Some good work on the mound from starter C.J. Wilson, a well-rounded attack from a powerful, patient offense, and capable work from an improving bullpen meant a 6-1 win at Angel Stadium.

Mike Scioscia's squad has won 11 of 14 games since a trip to Toronto.

"It all begins with our starting pitching," Scioscia said. "These guys are doing terrific. And we're scoring enough runs to get leads and our bullpen's doing the job when we need them. A lot of good things are happening, but I just know that this team's not the finished product. We're gonna keep getting better."

Wilson threw 6 1/3 innings and permitted just one run, walking four and striking out three while allowing four hits.

Behind him, the Angels notched a dozen hits. Four of the first five hitters in their lineup reached base at least twice, but No. 6 hitter Chris Iannetta started the scoring with a homer off Royals left-hander Danny Duffy in the second inning.

Duffy hadn't allowed a home run in 67 major-league innings over the last two years. But Mike Trout added another homer in the third, slamming a middle-in changeup over the left-center fence.

Trout added an impressive outfield assist in the fifth inning, throwing out Nori Aoki at third base on a flyout.

Wilson battled through a 29-pitch first inning to work into the seventh and earn his team-leading sixth win. He threw 105 pitches, his lowest total of the season.

"It's frustrating, because you keep making good pitches and they keep fouling stuff off," Wilson said. "But you have to give them credit for working my pitch count up with their two-strike approach."

The Angels (27-20) added insurance runs in the sixth and seventh innings on hit parades culminating in RBI singles from Erick Aybar and C.J. Cron and an RBI double from Grant Green.

Only four teams have a better record than the Angels. They've scored 233 runs and allowed 184, accounting for a plus-49 run differential – the second-best mark in baseball.

Burnett back in majors

For the first time in more than a year, Sean Burnett arrived at Angel Stadium on Friday knowing he might actually pitch in a major league game.

The Angels activated him off the disabled list before meeting the Kansas City Royals, leaving the left-hander with an assortment of emotions.

"It's a special day for me, and a day I've been waiting for for a long time," Burnett said. "I'm excited and anxious to get back out there."

The call came with two out in the seventh inning and a runner on second. Burnett needed five pitches to retire Royals No. 3 hitter Eric Hosmer on a grounder to second.

Burnett, 31, spent most of the last two weeks on a rehab stint with Double-A Arkansas, preceded by two weeks in extended spring training in Arizona. He was working his way back from August surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow after fighting elbow soreness for most of 2013, his first season with the Angels.

He pitched only 92/3 innings and none at home after April 21, although he did appear in two games in Kansas City in May.

He said he was topping out at 90 mph with his sinker in Arkansas, numbers on par with his 2012 figures when he was a dominant set-up man for the Washington Nationals.

"I'm there physically," Burnett said before Friday's game. "Now, it's just the anxiousness and the nerves getting back out there and doing it on a big league mound for the first time in a long time. The stuff's there, and the action on the ball is where it needs to be. It's just controlling my emotions the first few times out."

With Burnett absent, the Angels tried a variety of left-handed replacements in their bullpen, but none proved suitable for the role. Of late, they had been operating with a righty-only bullpen.

"He's one of those guys who you don't realize what he brings until he's not here," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "And he hasn't been here for a long time. You've seen us try to fill that void with a number of guys. Getting Sean out there is going to be a big boost to our ballclub, no doubt."

Hamilton scratched

Outfielder Josh Hamilton was scratched from the second game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake after feeling discomfort in his surgically repaired left thumb during batting practice.

Scioscia said Hamilton was jammed by a fastball from hard-throwing Dodgers minor leaguer Jose Dominguez in his fourth at-bat Thursday, which resulted in a groundout to short.

The manager said the setback was minor and indicated Hamilton should return to action Saturday, but the day off decreases the likelihood he could return to the majors Monday, as was originally planned.

(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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