Baseball / Sports

Royals outlast Angels 7-4 in 13 innings, climb back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- At last, after more than four hours of striving, the Kansas City Royals mixed a measure of success with a spate of good fortune. The combination came together in the 13th inning of a 7-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, which squared the series and returned the team to a .500 record.

The elements of the final rally were unlikely, but useful: A banged-up backup ignited the offense. A sacrifice bunt turned into a run-scoring gift. A succession of hits followed. After the bullpen held the Angels at bay for more than half the game's duration, the offense finally came through.

In a nine-pitch battle with Angels reliever Michael Morin, Danny Valencia appeared to injure his left wrist but still managed to rope a leadoff double. Alcides Escobar followed with a bunt, which Morin promptly threw away, providing the Royals' go-ahead run. They tacked on two more with an RBI single from Nori Aoki and a sacrifice fly from Billy Butler.

For the Royals, 24-24, it was an uplifting ending to a game that could have been deflating.

In the game's most exhilarating, exasperating play, Alex Gordon scaled the left-field wall in the fifth inning, attempting to keep in the park a drive off Angels slugger Albert Pujols' bat. Gordon snared the ball with his glove and tipped the baseball behind him. The ball connected with his free hand as he descended to the ground and eventually settled in his glove.

A few feet away from the mound, starter James Shields raised his arms as if to signal a touchdown. His face was incredulous. He merely looked furious a few minutes later.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia challenged the call, and it was overturned. Somewhere in between the first contact and the final catch, the baseball grazed the fence behind Gordon.

That decision placed Pujols at second base. Three batters later, he scored from third base after Shields' slipped a change-up between the legs of catcher Salvador Perez.

Granted a three-run lead, Shields couldn't hold down the Angels. They tied the game on two home runs, and took the lead thanks to Shields' mistake. The Royals tied the game in the seventh when Perez grounded into a double play with none out and the bases loaded.

The Royals broke the pattern in the third. Aoki and Hosmer singled to start the rally. Butler drove in Aoki with a sacrifice fly. Then they benefited from a two-out defensive gaffe by superstar Mike Trout, who dropped a li,ner off Perez's bat. Cain threaded an RBI single up the middle in the next at-bat.

They ground out another run in the fourth. But the Angels soon demonstrated the power of a more blunt attack.

(c)2014 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

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