ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Joe Blanton is due for some decent luck - and that elusive first victory in an Angels uniform.
The veteran right-hander took his lumps again Monday night, giving up a season-worst seven runs along with 12 hits in an 11-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
``I felt like I threw the ball good tonight and my stuff was good,' Blanton said after his ERA shot up to 6.46. ``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.'
Blanton (0-7) threw 99 pitches through 4 2-3 innings, finishing with seven strikeouts and no walks. He struck out the side on 16 pitches in the second, his only 1-2-3 inning. Every other inning he pitched, the Royals scored.
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.
The only time this season that Blanton has left a game with a lead was April 22 against Texas, when the bullpen blew a 6-3 advantage and he ended up with a six-inning no-decision.
``Joe had a rough outing, to say the least,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``We'll turn the page on it, and hopefully he'll get where he needs to be in his next start. Tonight he just missed spots. And I think when you're missing spots, innings are going to continue. He had a couple opportunities to minimize the damage and couldn't get out of it. But give those guys credit. I mean, 19 hits. Those guys are swinging the bats well.'
Billy Butler broke out of a severe slump with five hits and five RBIs, including a run-scoring double in the first inning and a two-run single in the third.
``He's a good hitter,' said Blanton, who faced Butler for the first time in a regular-season game. ``I threw him a little bit of everything. The first time I missed my spot and he hit the double. The second time I got ahead of him with runners at second and third and two outs and he worked it to a full count. I tried to get aggressive with him with a changeup, but he stayed on it and hit it back up the middle. If he tries to get big, he swings and misses or rolls it over. But he did a nice job.'
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's one of the best hitters I've ever seen,' Kansas City 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.'
Butler's hit total tied his career high. The designated hitter 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.
``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.'
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.
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.
NOTES: Angels RF Josh Hamilton was 2 for 3, including a ground double to the left side against the shift. He came out in the seventh inning because he was ``a little lightheaded,' Scioscia said. ... It was the third time this season that Blanton gave up 10 or more hits. ... The entire seven-game season series will take place this month, including a four-game set at Kansas City starting May 23.
The Associated Press News Service
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