ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Denny Bautista earned his first major-league victory against one of baseball's most potent lineups.
The Kansas City right-hander yielded a run and three hits over eight innings in his sixth big-league start, handing the Los Angeles Angels a 6-2 defeat on Friday night.
"Believe it or not, I'm not surprised at all -- based on how I saw him throw in winter ball and the way he threw the ball in spring training," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "Nobody on our ballclub was surprised to see what we saw tonight."
Bautista (1-0), who joined the Royals last June in a trade that sent Jason Grimsley to Baltimore, was 0-4 last season with a 6.51 ERA. But he worked on his delivery while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
"When I got traded, I thought I had a chance to make it in the big leagues with the Royals. And I let them know I'm ready to pitch in the big leagues." Bautista said. "Last year I got everything up, but now I'm throwing my pitches for strikes," Bautista said. "I want to throw the first pitch for a strike, and if they hit it, they hit it."
The Angels have no doubt about Bautista's chances of succeeding. He struck out eight, walked none and retired 15 of his last 16 batters, taming an offense that had the highest team batting average in the majors last season (.282) and the fewest strikeouts.
"If he does that all year, he's going to have a pretty good year," Angels third baseman Robb Quinlan said. "We only faced him in spring training, and he was kind of all over the place. But tonight he was throwing strikes in the mid-90s and getting all of his pitches over. He came right at you, and every time you stepped in there, he was kind of quick-pitching you a little bit. So you had to be ready."
The 24-year-old Bautista gave up his only run in the fourth on a groundout by Garret Anderson. No Royals outfielder recorded a putout until Cabrera flied to center leading off the eighth.
"(Royals pitching coach) Guy Hansen has done a great job with Denny, keeping him calm and giving him new direction in the way he was going to throw the ball," Pena said. "It was more about mechanics and trusting himself and trusting his stuff. He was able to take the same things he did in spring training to earn a spot in the rotation into tonight's game."
Mike Sweeney hit a pair of RBI doubles for the Royals, who won the first of nine regular-season games against the Angels after going 0-7 against them last season and getting outscored 58-27.
"Last year's record is water under the bridge," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's a good club over there and they've got a lot of positive things going for them."
Paul Byrd (0-1) allowed six runs -- four earned -- and nine hits in his Angels debut. The 10-year veteran right-hander, who had a career-high 17 wins for the Royals in 2002, signed as a free agent in December after going 8-7 with a 3.94 ERA in 19 starts last season with Atlanta Braves. He missed the 2003 season after elbow-ligament replacement surgery.
"I would have liked to get off to a better start," Byrd said. "But over the long haul, things will care of themselves and there will be more cheers than boos."
Kansas City scored a pair of unearned runs in the second after second baseman Chone Figgins bobbled Calvin Pickering's routine grounder leading off the inning. Byrd hit Emil Brown with his next pitch and Terrence Long singled home Pickering one pitch later. Brown scored on Ruben Gotay's sacrifice fly.
Pickering made it 3-0 in the third, driving in David DeJesus with a bloop RBI single over the outstretched glove of shortstop Orlando Cabrera.
Kansas City used the foul lines to perfection to score a pair of fifth-inning runs that increased the margin to 5-1. DeJesus tripled just past first baseman Darin Erstad and scored when Tony Graffanino's squeeze bunt to the right of the mound ended up as a single. Sweeney followed with an RBI double just inside third base.
- Plate umpire Doug Eddings failed to call catcher's interference against Kansas City's John Buck in the sixth after Erstad's bat knocked Buck's glove off his hand.
- Former Kansas City C Brent Mayne, who began his 15-year career with the Royals, visited their clubhouse before the game. Mayne and the Los Angeles Dodgers failed to agree on a new contract by Jan. 8.