ANAHEIM — Right-handed reliever Scott Barlow raised plenty of eyebrows in the Royals organization when he completely dominated in his last two outings, going seven innings of long relief and giving up just three hits and one run while striking out 10.
But Barlow got a reminder on Wednesday that for him to be that effective, he has to locate his four-seam fastball that sits at 89-91 mph. Barlow served up a center-cut four-seamer to Ian Kinsler in the sixth inning and Kinsler blasted it out to left for a two-run home run that led the Angels to a 4-3 victory and a three-game sweep.
Kinsler’s home run broke a 1-1 tie. In the next inning, Justin Upton belted a Barlow four-seamer for a home run that made it 4-1.
“I wanted it down and away [to Kinsler], and it caught too much plate,” Barlow said. “Hitters let you know up here when you catch too much of the plate.”
Added Royals manager Ned Yost, “Barlow made two mistakes. One trying to go fastball away and left in middle-[middle] to Kinsler. And the other was just falling behind Upton 3-0 where you have to come back and attack. In the big leagues, when you go 3-0, you better make it a good pitch or it will go a long way.”
Alex Gordon had two hits and three RBIs for the Royals.
Royals starter Ian Kennedy came into the game having given up 29 runs in his last 23 2/3 innings. But the right-hander worked his way through traffic for five innings and gave up one run and seven hits while striking out five.
The Angels had the bases loaded and one out in the second inning, but Kennedy struck out Kaleb Cowart and got Michael Hermosillo to ground out.
After tying the score at 1 in the fifth, the Angels again had the bases loaded with one out. But Kennedy got Martin Maldonado to foul out and Chris Young to pop out to second.
“It’s been a grind for the last month or so,” Kennedy said. “But today was better. But getting out that big jam in the fifth kind of took everything out of me.”
Angels right-hander Shohei Ohtani left after four innings because of a blister on his right middle finger after having given up four hits and one run.