ANAHEIM — The Angels didn’t exactly hit Royals reliever Tim Hill hard. But then again, they didn’t have to after Hill walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth inning on Monday night.
And one out later, Mike Trout sent a soft grounder back through the middle that eluded Hill and trickled into center field, producing the go-ahead run that sent the Angels to a 9-6 victory at Angel Stadium.
“The walks didn’t help [Hill] at all,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We struggled with command all night, really.”
Royals catcher Salvador Perez had tied the game at 6 one inning earlier with his 10th homer, stealing the momentum back after the Angels took their first lead with a three-run sixth.
Danny Duffy, who had put together back-to-back strong outings, wasn’t as sharp this time around. The lefty went five-plus innings and gave up four runs on seven hits, including home runs by Justin Upton and Jefry Marte.
Duffy permitted four hits and three walks in the first two innings but escaped while allowing two runs.
“Fastball command was off,” Yost said. “I think he had 57 pitches after two innings. He at least competed out until the sixth inning.”
But the number that stood out on Duffy’s pitching line was zero strikeouts.
“I just don’t think I was locating with my fastball,” Duffy said. “No punchouts. I know we were looking for some quick outs, but when you get guys 1-2 and 0-2 and can’t punch them out, it’s not going to be good.
“I’ll be better next time out.”
Despite Duffy’s struggles, the Royals were in control for much of his outing, with Jorge Soler’s two-run double in the top of the fifth giving them a 5-2 lead.
But Marte’s leadoff homer in the sixth ended Duffy’s night and kick-started the first of two three-run innings for the Angels.