Six months after sweeping them in the American League Division Series, the Royals spoiled the Angels' home opener with a 4-2 victory in Southern California on Friday night, giving Kansas City a four-game winning streak to start the season.
Jason Vargas pitched six innings of two-run ball against his former team, and the Royals' bullpen -- minus closer Greg Holland, whom Royals manager Ned Yost didn't want pitching a third straight game -- recorded the final nine outs as the Angels dropped their third straight home opener.
"[Vargas] really kept them off-balance and kept the ball down in the zone," Yost said. "A really nice job."
"We really haven't hit our stride on the offensive side as a team," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Some guys are doing a really good job, and some guys are trying to get into their game. They have a good pitching staff over there. Their bullpen did a great job for them last year and got it done tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED The LoCain train stays hot: Cain, who went 5-for-12 with four RBIs in the White Sox series, doubled and scored in the first inning to put the Royals up 1-0. Then, Cain put the Royals up 2-1 in the fifth with a big two-out RBI single to right-center (known as the LoCain Triangle). Cain also drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth.
Inefficient Santiago: Among pitchers who threw at least 120 innings last year, Santiago threw the fourth-most pitches per inning. In his 2015 debut, the 27-year-old left-hander remained inefficient. It took Santiago exactly 100 pitches to record 16 outs, and he left having allowed three runs on six hits.
Power surge:The Royals, dead last in the Majors last season with 95 homers, pumped out their sixth homer already this season -- from six different players, no less. Morales joined the long-ball party with a big homer leading off the sixth, putting the Royals up 3-1.
"It's a lot of fun right now," Hosmer said. "We got a lot of guys contributing, and it's always nice to get off to a good start."
Missed opportunities: The Angels had the tying run in scoring position with two outs in the seventh and eighth, but failed to bring him in both times. AfterMatt Joyce hit a pinch-hit double in the seventh, Johnny Giavotella struck out. Then, after Mike Trout moved to second on a ground out in the eighth,David Freese, who had homered earlier, bounced to short.
"Got him with a changeup," Herrera said. "That was a good pitch for me tonight."
QUOTABLE "Oh, no, this can't be good," -- Giavotella, when summoned to manager Mike Scioscia's office prior to Friday's game. It turned out to be good, though, as Johnny G got his American League championship ring from the Royals.
"Those guys fight. They're in that dugout getting at each other for a hard nine innings. That's how they were last year. That's a team that goes out to win a ballgame, just like us,"-- Freese, on the Royals.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS • Freese entered the season hopeful of a better start, and so far that's the case. The Angels' third baseman hit his second home run in Friday's sixth inning, a solo shot to straightaway center. Last year, he didn't hit his second home run until the Angels' 24th game.
WHAT'S NEXT The Royals will send Jeremy Guthrie out for his first start of the season, opposite fellow veteran right-hander Jered Weaver. The Angels' ace is looking to rebound from an Opening Day start in which he gave up four runs on five extra-base hits in six innings.