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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- So much for Billy Butler's offensive drought.
Butler broke out of a severe slump with five hits and five RBIs, and the Kansas City Royals kept Joe Blanton winless in eight starts this season with an 11-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
"I knew I had been getting closer, but it's just one game," Butler said. "You've got to come out and do it consistently. Hopefully I'm on that upward streak now."
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Butler's hit total tied his career high, established on July 27, 2009, at Baltimore. The designated hitter has three games with five or more RBIs in the majors -- including a franchise record-tying seven on April 7 at Philadelphia, when he hit his first career grand slam. He began the day in a 4-for-35 rut with a .228 average and one RBI in 23 at-bats over his previous six games.
"Billy's one of the best hitters I've ever seen," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I've seen a lot of really good hitters go into little slumps, and Billy's slumps are usually 0 for 9 or 0 for 10. But you also know that any day he's capable of breaking out and really carrying the team for a period of time. Billy's like a light switch. All of a sudden he can walk in, flip it, and there he goes."
Luis Mendoza (1-2) allowed three runs and six hits over six innings, striking out six and walking none as the Royals began a nine-game road trip following a three-game sweep by the New York Yankees.
"We needed to get a win," Yost said. "We knew the offense would click sooner or later, and it did tonight. We knew Billy had been struggling, and that it was just a matter of time before he got back on track. And he did it in a big way tonight."
Mendoza was staked to a 10-1 lead and took a three-hitter into the sixth before giving up a pair of runs. Luke Hochevar pitched three innings for his first save in seven big league seasons.
"Everybody contributed offensively. We got a bunch of hits and a bunch of runs and made it easy for Mendy," Yost said. "But Mendy was pretty darn good tonight. When he missed, he missed down. He had a good two-seamer, a good sinker and good action to his pitches. He also had a good curveball that he kept down in the zone."
Blanton (0-7) threw 99 pitches through 4 2-3 innings, giving up seven runs and 12 hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. The right-hander's ERA shot up to 6.46.
"I felt like I threw the ball good tonight and my stuff was good," Blanton said. "When they made contact they found holes, broken-bat balls fell in for singles and balls bounced their way down the lines. It was one of those weird games. There were a couple of innings where I was one pitch away from it. But they got a couple of two-out hits that cost me three or four of those runs."
It's the first time in the Angels' 53-year history that they have been on the losing end in all of a pitcher's first eight starts in a season. The last time one of their pitchers was winless in his first eight starts was 1997, when lefty Matt Perisho started eight times as a rookie and was 0-2. The Angels were 4-4 in those games.
Kansas City opened the scoring in the first when Alex Gordon singled with two outs and came all the way around on Butler's double off the right-field wall. Two innings later, Butler drove in two more with a two-out single.
"He's a good hitter," Blanton said. "I threw him a little bit of everything."
The Angels got on the board in the third with an RBI single by Chris Iannetta, who had one hit in his previous 27 at-bats. But the Royals increased the margin to 4-1 in the fourth with Jarrod Dyson's two-out RBI double and tacked on three more in the fifth with an RBI single by Lorenzo Cain and a two-run double by No. 8 hitter Salvador Perez that chased Blanton.
"Probably the biggest one was that last double," Blanton said. "I threw a cutter and left it up in the zone. Other than that, I thought my pitches were pretty crisp and had a lot of movement down in the zone. I felt like I had located, for the most part."
Even the Angels' improving bullpen couldn't contain Butler, whose two-run double highlighted a three-run sixth against rookie Michael Roth and gave the Royals a 10-1 cushion. The hit increased his RBI total to 25 and snapped a string of scoreless innings by Angels relievers.
|Billy Butler breaks out of a slump while the Royals add to the struggles of Joe Blanton and the Angels. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Kansas City Royals|
|Jarrod Dyson, CF||6||1||2||1||0||1||1||.270|
|Alcides Escobar, SS||5||2||3||1||0||1||2||.267|
|Elliot Johnson, SS||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.275|
|Alex Gordon, LF||5||2||2||0||0||1||3||.322|
|Billy Butler, DH||5||2||5||5||0||0||0||.261|
|Eric Hosmer, 1B||5||1||1||0||0||1||4||.267|
|Lorenzo Cain, RF||5||2||3||2||0||2||1||.328|
|Mike Moustakas, 3B||5||0||0||0||0||3||5||.200|
|Salvador Perez, C||4||1||3||2||0||1||0||.298|
|George Kottaras, C||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.154|
|Chris Getz, 2B||5||0||0||0||0||2||4||.193|
|2B - Jarrod Dyson (5, Blanton), Alcides Escobar (7, Roth), Billy Butler 2 (7, Blanton, Roth), Salvador Perez (7, Blanton)|
|RBI - Jarrod Dyson (7), Alcides Escobar (16), Billy Butler 5 (25), Lorenzo Cain 2 (19), Salvador Perez 2 (12)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jarrod Dyson (6), Alcides Escobar (3), Billy Butler 3 (10), Lorenzo Cain (10), Salvador Perez 2 (7)|
|SB - Jarrod Dyson (6, 2nd base off Blanton/Iannetta), Alcides Escobar (8, 2nd base off Blanton/Iannetta)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Luis Mendoza (W,1-2)||6||6||3||3||0||6||0||6.00|
|Luke Hochevar (S,1)||3||3||1||1||0||4||0||1.17|
|WP - Luis Mendoza 2 (5)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Luis Mendoza 101-62, Luke Hochevar 50-33|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luis Mendoza 10-2|
|Batters Faced - Luis Mendoza 24, Luke Hochevar 12|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|J.B. Shuck, LF-RF||4||0||1||1||0||1||1||.286|
|Mike Trout, CF||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.283|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||4||1||1||1||0||0||0||.234|
|Mark Trumbo, DH||4||0||0||1||0||2||0||.271|
|Josh Hamilton, RF||3||0||2||0||0||0||0||.212|
|Luis Jimenez, SS||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.227|
|Howie Kendrick, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.282|
|Alberto Callaspo, 3B||4||2||2||0||0||0||0||.265|
|Brendan Harris, SS-LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.250|
|a- Hank Conger, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.255|
|Chris Iannetta, C||4||0||1||1||0||2||2||.198|
|a-singled for Harris in the 9th|
|2B - J.B. Shuck (4, Hochevar), Albert Pujols (8, Mendoza), Josh Hamilton (6, Mendoza), Alberto Callaspo (2, Mendoza)|
|RBI - J.B. Shuck (5), Albert Pujols (21), Mark Trumbo (27), Chris Iannetta (10)|
|2-OUT RBI - J.B. Shuck (4)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Joe Blanton (L,0-7)||4.2||12||7||7||0||7||0||6.46|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 99-65, Michael Roth 49-31, Robert Coello 30-21|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 4-3, Michael Roth 5-0|
|Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 26, Michael Roth 13, Robert Coello 7|
|Attendance - 32203|
|Game Time - 3:07|
|Temperature - 86|
|Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Tim McClelland, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Chris Guccione|