Kansas City, Mo. A team with the worst record in the major leagues will take a game-winning home run wherever it can find one.
Light-hitting Esteban German, with three homers in 441 major league at-bats, surprised himself and everyone else Wednesday night with a three-run shot that carried Kansas City past the Los Angeles Angels 3-1.
Ervin Santana (2-4) had wobbled in an out of trouble throughout the cool, rainy night when he found himself facing German with two on and one out in the seventh. He threw what was supposed to be a fastball on the outside corner, and the utility infielder knocked it 402 feet over the left-field fence.
"I'm not a power hitter. But I knew I got that one," he said.
Jorge De La Rosa (3-2) went seven innings, giving up five hits and one run, with two strikeouts and a walk as the Royals won for just the third time in 10 games and halted the Angels' four-game winning streak.
They also kept Mike Scioscia from passing Bill Rigney to become the winningest Angels manager.
"One pitch ended up being the ballgame," Scioscia said. "He had good stuff and he pitched well and he pitched out of some jams. But we couldn't give him any breathing room on offense."
Erick Aybar doubled off De La Rosa leading off the fifth and scored on Chone Figgins' single for the Angels' run.
Joakim Soria pitched the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.
Royals manager Buddy Bell said German's home run, "kind of came out of the blue."
"You expect Esty to put the bat on the ball and we have a lot of confidence in him in that situation," Bell said. "You just don't expect him to hit a three-run home run, especially the way Santana was throwing. I've seen him with good stuff, but as far as sharpness of his stuff, his fastball, his breaking ball, that's about as good as I've seen him."
Santana has given up at least one home run in each of his last five starts. The right-hander allowed 11 hits and three runs in 6 1-3 innings. Before German came to the plate, he gave up a single to Tony Pena Jr. and hit David DeJesus, putting runners at first and second.
"I was just trying to throw a fastball away and the ball went running back to the middle. That was a bad pitch," Santana said. "I'm going to keep pitching, and one day it's going to be my turn. You have to keep pitching."
The Royals stranded runners at third base in the third, fourth and sixth innings.
DeJesus tripled in the third with two out and Santana struck out German on a 3-2 pitch. Billy Butler, in his second major league game, struck out with runners at first and third to end the fourth. With runners at first and third in the sixth, Santana got Alex Gordon to pop out and retired Butler on a liner to left to end the inning.
Reggie Sanders, after doubling in the sixth and going to third on Ross Gload's single, came out of the game with a tight left hamstring.
Notes: Infielder Maicer Izturis and left fielder Garrett Anderson were out of the Angels' starting lineup again. Anderson has a sore right hip flexor and Izturis is bothered with a sore right hamstring. ... Wednesday was the 29th birthday for Royals RHP Luke Hudson.