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Anaheim at Kansas City

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L.A. Angels (1-0) «0002020004120
Kansas City (0-1)000000110273

Homers by Hunter, Mathis lead Angels past Royals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Take away a near-collapse by the bullpen and this was exactly what the Los Angeles Angels wanted to see in their season opener.

Torii Hunter and Jeff Mathis homered, Jered Weaver pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning and the Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 on Thursday.

"I just tried to keep people off the basepaths as much as possible," Weaver said. "It's obviously nerve-racking the first time out."

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Weaver allowed only two harmless singles by Melky Cabrera before he was replaced by Hisanori Takahashi with one out in the seventh. The 2010 major league strikeout leader, who improved to 3-0 in his last four starts against Kansas City, fanned six and walked two as the Angels won their opener for the seventh time in the last eight years.

Hunter and Mathis, on his 28th birthday, hit solo shots off Luke Hochevar, who pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up four runs in his first opening-day start.

Once Weaver was out of the game, the Royals made it interesting on solo shots by Mike Aviles and Jeff Francoeur, but Los Angeles' bullpen escaped threats in the eighth and ninth.

"Weaver is as good a pitcher I've seen at being able to disrupt hitters' timing," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That's what pitching is all about, trying to keep the opposition off balance and he does it as well as anybody. He has a changeup, got different speeds on his slider and throws his fastball at different speeds and he bangs strikes."

Aviles' leadoff drive off Kevin Jepsen trimmed Los Angeles' lead to 4-2 in the eighth. The Royals went on to load the bases on three walks, but Michael Kohn, the Angels' fifth pitcher, struck out Francoeur and retired Alcides Escobar on a fly ball to end the inning.

With runners at the corners and two out in the ninth, Alex Gordon barely missed a home run before Fernando Rodney struck him out for the save. Gordon was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts and left five runners.

"We were fortunate at the end. Too many base on balls," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "When we needed to make a pitch, our guys did. But you can't just keep cracking open the door. They're an aggressive team and they've got guys who can drive the ball out of the park."

Weaver (1-0) had faced the minimum until Cabrera flared a single into left with one out in the fourth. The right-hander, the Angels' pitcher of the year the past two seasons, then retired six of the next seven, allowing only one walk, before Cabrera singled up the middle with two out in the sixth.

Hunter, on a 3-2 pitch, cranked a 446-foot shot over the center-field fence leading off the fourth. It was his 27th homer against the Royals, the most he's hit off any club. Vernon Wells and Erick Aybar followed with back-to-back doubles.

Hunter also singled in the fifth but a piece of his bat went into the stands on the third-base side and hit a woman. She appeared to be bleeding and Hunter sent somebody to give her a souvenir bat.

"I hope and pray that she's all right," Hunter said.

She is. Stadium security said the woman was treated at the scene and insisted on remaining at the game. She did, however, asked to be seated somewhere out of the way of flying bats.

The Royals committed three errors. After Mathis connected in the sixth, Peter Bourjos bunted and wound up at third on throwing errors by Hochevar and second baseman Chris Getz. Maicer Izturis ended up driving him in with a single.

"I think this is like my 13th opening day," Hunter said. "Thirteen of them and I'm still kind of nervous and anxious to see what happens. But it's cool to come with a win."

Takahashi allowed Francoeur's two-out drive in the seventh.

Third baseman Aviles was booed when he ran toward the left-field dugout chasing a high pop off the bat of Bobby Abreu but let it fall in. It was called a no-play, but boos echoed again when Abreu then singled with two out in the fifth. But Aviles made a nice play on Wells' grounder to end the inning.

Hochevar (0-1) also allowed nine hits, struck out five and walked none. One of the runs on his line was unearned.

Notes:

  • Royals relievers have switched sides. Since Kauffman Stadium opened in 1973, the home team bullpen had always been behind right field, the visitors' behind left. But now they've switched, giving KC dugout a better view of what's happening in their pen.
  • Mike Sweeney, who signed a one-day contract this month and retired as a Royal, threw out the first pitch.
  • The Royals called it a sellout but there were quite a few unoccupied seats scattered around Kauffman Stadium.
  • The Angels improved to 1-3 in March games.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jeff Mathis is tagged out by Royals catcher Matt Treanor as he tries to score in the eighth. (AP)
Jeff Mathis is tagged out by Royals catcher Matt Treanor as he tries to score in the eighth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Anaheim

J. Weaver
IP 6.1
H 2
ER 0
BB 2
K 6
Anaheim

J. Mathis
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Los Angeles Angels
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Maicer Izturis, 3B5021000 .400
Howard Kendrick, 2B4010021 .250
Bobby Abreu, DH4010111 .250
Torii Hunter, RF5121022 .400
Vernon Wells, LF4110014 .250
Erick Aybar, SS4011003 .250
Mark Trumbo, 1B4000021 .000
Jeff Mathis, C4121011 .500
Peter Bourjos, CF4120002 .500
Totals38412419  
Batting
2B - Howard Kendrick (1, Hochevar), Vernon Wells (1, Hochevar), Erick Aybar (1, Hochevar), Jeff Mathis (1, Adcock)
HR - Torii Hunter (1, Hochevar), Jeff Mathis (1, Hochevar)
SH - Howard Kendrick (1)
RBI - Maicer Izturis (1), Torii Hunter (1), Erick Aybar (1), Jeff Mathis (1)
2-OUT RBI - Maicer Izturis (1), Jeff Mathis (1)
SB - Maicer Izturis (1, 2nd base off Crow/Treanor)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
PB - Jeff Mathis (1)
Los Angeles Angels
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jered Weaver (W,1-0) 6.1200260 0.00
Hisanori Takahashi 0.1311001 27.00
Jordan Walden (H,1) 0.1000010 0.00
Kevin Jepsen (H,1) 0.1111201 27.00
Michael Kohn (H,1) 0.2000110 0.00
Fernando Rodney (S,1) 1100120 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Jered Weaver 106-66, Hisanori Takahashi 14-8, Jordan Walden 5-3, Kevin Jepsen 18-7, Michael Kohn 15-8, Fernando Rodney 26-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jered Weaver 4-8, Hisanori Takahashi 1-0, Kevin Jepsen 1-0
Batters Faced - Jered Weaver 22, Hisanori Takahashi 4, Jordan Walden 1, Kevin Jepsen 4, Michael Kohn 3, Fernando Rodney 5
Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Mike Aviles, 3B-2B5111011 .200
Melky Cabrera, CF-LF4030100 .750
Alex Gordon, LF-1B5000034 .000
Billy Butler, DH2000200 .000
    Mitch Maier, PR-DH0000000 .000
Kila Ka'aihue, 1B3000112 .000
    Jarrod Dyson, PR-CF0000000 .000
Jeff Francoeur, RF4111013 .250
Alcides Escobar, SS4010003 .250
Matt Treanor, C3010110 .333
Chris Getz, 2B1000110 .000
   a- Wilson Betemit, PH-3B2000023 .000
Totals33272610  
a-struck out for Getz in the 7th
Batting
HR - Mike Aviles (1, Jepsen), Jeff Francoeur (1, Takahashi)
RBI - Mike Aviles (1), Jeff Francoeur (1)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Francoeur (1)
SB - Melky Cabrera (1, 2nd base off Jer. Weaver/Mathis)
CS - Chris Getz (1, 2nd base by Jer. Weaver/Mathis)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jeff Francoeur 1
E - Mike Aviles (1, Misplayed grounder), Chris Getz (1, Throwing), Luke Hochevar (1, Throwing)
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Luke Hochevar (L,0-1) 5.2943052 4.76
Aaron Crow 1.1000030 0.00
Nate Adcock 1200000 0.00
Tim Collins 1100110 0.00
HBP - V. Wells (by Luke Hochevar)
Pitches-Strikes - Luke Hochevar 102-73, Aaron Crow 19-12, Nate Adcock 18-12, Tim Collins 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hochevar 11-2, Nate Adcock 2-0, Tim Collins 1-1
Batters Faced - Luke Hochevar 28, Aaron Crow 4, Nate Adcock 4, Tim Collins 5
Game Information
Attendance - 40055
Game Time - 3:15
Temperature - 45
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Kerwin Danley, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Doug Eddings