Anaheim, Calif. Howie Kendrick’s two-run, inside-the-park homer Friday night helped the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-1 victory and put a stop to the Kansas City Royals’ six-game win streak.
In his third start of the season, Angels rookie and Missouri native Matt Palmer picked up his third victory. Palmer allowed one run on two hits in 51⁄3 innings, giving him one earned run allowed in each of his last two outings.
After moving a season-low five games under .500 on April 25, the Angels have won eight of their last 11. They also have won five of their last six.
The AL Central-leading Royals lost for just the second time since April 28.
Leading 2-1 in the sixth inning, Kendrick followed Juan Rivera’s double by lofting a fly ball down the right-field line. Royals right-fielder Jose Guillen over-ran the ball and it dropped behind him just inside the foul line, and TV replays appeared to show the ball clipped the side of his glove.
Initially in a slow jog down the first-base line, Kendrick kicked it into high gear when the ball landed safely and rolled into the right-field corner. He scored standing up.
Kendrick’s fourth homer of the season was the first inside the park for the Angels since Gary Matthews did it June 17, 2007, at Dodger Stadium.
It was a tough break for Royals starter Gil Meche, who had a solid outing going until the Kendrick’s home run. He ended up lasting just two more batters.
Meche (2-3) gave up four runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts in 52⁄3 innings.
Even without Guillen’s misplay, Palmer still was ahead in the duel with his counterpart. The right-hander, who went to high school in Caruthersville, Mo., in the southeast portion of the state, had only made three big-league starts before this year, all last season with the San Francisco Giants.
He wouldn’t even be in the rotation had it not been for an Angels pitching staff that has been decimated by injuries and the tragic death of Nick Adenhart.
Darren Oliver came on in relief of Palmer and recorded his 1,000th career strikeout when he got David DeJesus swinging to end the top of the seventh inning. Angels closer Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect ninth inning for his eighth save in 10 chances.
The Angels struck first in the second inning as Jeff Mathis cashed in a walk to Mile Napoli with a two-out RBI single. They scored again in the third on Napoli’s RBI single.
The Royals scored their only run in the sixth on a double by Billy Butler.