Morales, Vargas lead unbeaten Royals past Angels, 4-2 - KCTV5

Morales, Vargas lead unbeaten Royals past Angels, 4-2

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By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals returned to Orange County and methodically picked up where they left off in October, and they didn't even need an extra-inning homer.

Kendrys Morales homered, Lorenzo Cain drove in two runs and the defending AL champions remained unbeaten with a 4-2 victory over Los Angeles on Friday night in the Angels' home opener.

Eric Hosmer drove in an early run and Jason Vargas pitched six solid innings against his former team for the Royals, who followed up their season-opening sweep of the White Sox with a win in the same ballpark where they won the first two games of last season's AL Division Series, eventually sweeping the 98-win Angels.

"It's good to get off to a good start," said Hosmer, whose 11th-inning homer won Game 2 of the division series. "It's always tough to come back from a short offseason, and it was our first playoff experience. But for us to close that chapter and start 4-0 ... it just shows we're on a mission and we're not going to let anything get in the way."

Vargas (1-0) yielded five hits and two runs over six innings with little serious trouble for the former Long Beach State star.

"I thought he threw the ball great, executed his pitches and spotted his fastball extremely well," manager Ned Yost said.

Wade Davis capped another strong bullpen performance, pitching the ninth for his first save.

David Freese homered and Kole Calhoun had an early RBI double for the Angels, who have lost their last three home openers.

Hector Santiago (0-1) had a rocky season debut, yielding six hits and three runs while pitching into the sixth.

"His first 50 pitches, Hector really struggled," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "And then he found a nice rhythm and looked like he was on his way."

After taking two of three in Seattle, the Angels returned home to a modest celebration of their AL West title in their 50th home opener at the Big A, the majors' fourth-oldest stadium. The Royals' presence also gave the Angels an ugly reminder of their postseason faceplant, which included dramatic homers into the elevated right-field stands by the Royals.

"We definitely wanted to get some payback, some revenge on these guys, but we're playing again tomorrow," Santiago said. "If we can take two of three, it'll still be a positive series for us."

Mike Trout went 2 for 3 with a walk, but the AL MVP was stranded twice and erased on a double-play grounder by Albert Pujols, who went hitless to extend his season-opening skid to 2 for 15.

Hosmer drilled a single past Johnny Giavotella in the first inning to score Cain. After Calhoun snapped his 1-for-12 skid to tie it in the third, Cain's RBI single put Kansas City ahead in the fifth.

Morales connected in the sixth for his first homer, stepping delicately on home plate at the same stadium where he broke his leg stepping on the plate after hitting a game-ending grand slam for the Angels on May 29, 2010, sidelining him for nearly two years.

Freese hit his second homer of the season in the sixth.

HERE'S JOHNNY

Yost isn't surprised to see Giavotella starting at second base for the Angels, even though the Royals designated him for assignment last December. Giavotella spent parts of the past four seasons in Kansas City, managing just 104 hits. He won a spring training competition to replace Howie Kendrick, the Angels' hits leader in 2014. "Johnny has got a lot of energy, and his work ethic is tremendous," Yost said. "If anybody can do it, he could."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: Closer Greg Holland didn't pitch after making back-to-back appearances at home. Yost initially said Holland would be available, but the training staff changed his mind. "Just using some common sense," Yost said. "It's a little early to be pushing guys three days in a row."

Angels: RHP Garrett Richards is eager to get back on the mound after his eight-month rehabilitation from knee surgery, but the Angels have assigned him to make a start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday. The hard-throwing Richards, who won 13 games last year before hurting his knee in August, says he feels ready for the majors after throwing seven strong innings in an intrasquad game Thursday.

UP NEXT

Royals: Jeremy Guthrie makes his season debut.

Angels: Jered Weaver makes his second start of the season after taking a loss on opening day.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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