ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The Los Angeles Angels spotted the Kansas City Royals a four-run lead, then mounted a comeback that was derailed when Bobby Abreu was thrown out at the plate.
Abreu was waved home by third base coach Dino Ebel on a single to left field by Erick Aybar with one out in the sixth inning and two runs in, but Alex Gordon made a perfect one-hop throw to Brayan Pena for the second out.
Mark Trumbo ended the inning with a popup, and the Angels got only one more hit the rest of the way in a 4-2 to the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
``Dino's got terrific judgment out there,' manager Mike Scioscia said after the Angels' season-high sixth straight loss. ``As Bobby rounded third I don't think he thought he would be able to score and he slowed down a bit. It obviously ended up being a play that hurt us. But believe me, I trust Dino's judgment. He's as good as there is down there.'
The clutch play helped Jeff Francis (3-6) win his first road game of the season. The left-hander went 6 1-3 innings in his third start against the Angels this season, allowing two runs and eight hits en route to his first road victory since beating Florida on July 20, 2010, while pitching for Colorado.
``That throw home was a game-changer,' Francis said. ``It swung a lot of momentum. I got the next guy out and it's still 4-2.'
Ervin Santana (3-6) allowed four runs, seven hits and a season-high five walks over seven innings. He struck out five. Two of the runs came on homers by Melky Cabrera and Billy Butler. The right-hander has given up two home runs in each of his last three starts, and five of his last seven.
The switch-hitting Cabrera, who came in 2 for 14 lifetime against Santana, drove an 0-2 pitch to right field for his ninth homer with one out in the first. Jeff Francoeur grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the third, but the Royals made it 2-0 in the fourth when Butler drove Santana's first pitch of the inning to left for his sixth home run.
``I think there were a couple pitches he'd want back,' Scioscia said. ``The 0-2 pitch to Cabrera early was right in his wheelhouse. Butler jumped on a fastball early and hit it out of the park.'
The Royals have won consecutive games for the first time since May 19-20, and have clinched a season series from the Angels for only the second time in the last 15 years after taking five of seven in Kansas City.
Francis held the Angels to just two singles through five innings. But in the sixth, he gave up an RBI double by Howie Kendrick and a run-scoring single by Abreu - who entered that at-bat 0 for 14 against Francis with eight strikeouts.
Greg Holland retired all five batters he faced after relieving Francis. Joakim Soria pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save in 14 attempts and second in two nights after returning to the closer role.
Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas, the second overall pick in the 2007 draft behind Tampa Bay Rays All-Star left-hander David Price, was 1 for 3 with a walk in his major league debut after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Omaha. The 22-year-old Los Angeles native was drafted out of Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley.
He got his first big league hit in the sixth, a broken-bat single to right field, and scored on Alcides Escobar's run-scoring double before Chris Getz added an RBI single.
Trailing 2-0, the Angels threatened in the fourth when Torii Hunter led off with a single, advanced on a deep flyball by Howie Kendrick and took third on Abreu's groundout. Before Vernon Wells came up, Hunter had a brief conversation with Moustakas.
``When he got to third base, he congratulated me on being up here and later congratulated me on getting my first hit,' Moustakas said with a huge grin. ``I mean, it was unreal. I've heard a lot of things about Torii Hunter and about how great of a person he is, and everything's true. He's a first-class guy all the way.'
NOTES: Scioscia, second among active managers behind Tony La Russa with 1,847 regular-season games, gave kudos to the St. Louis Cardinals' skipper on the day La Russa joined Connie Mack as the only managers or coaches in American professional sports history to reach 5,000 games. ``That's quite an accomplishment,' Scioscia said. ``Tony's done more than survive. He's excelled in every situation he's been in, and the depth of his knowledge of people in this game is remarkable. The passion he's had to do it for as long as he has and as well as he has takes a special person, and the fire is burning in his belly as well as it ever has.' ... Four of Butler's seven career hits against Santana have been home runs. The Royals have hit 11 homers this season against the Angels, including game-ending drives - by Butler (June 1), Kila Ka'aihue (April 1) and Matt Treanor (April 3).
The Associated Press News Service
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