Royals' quick start fades against Angels' regulars
Brooks, Walters struggle on the mound; Maxwell, Gordon plate runs
TEMPE, Ariz. -- C.J. Wilson bounced back from a rough start and got plenty of support from his offense, which combined for six runs in the second and third innings as the Angels won their third straight Cactus League game on Friday, beating a Royals' split squad, 7-3, at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Facing Royals right-handed pitching prospect Aaron Brooks, the Angels took a one-run lead with a four-run second, getting an RBI single by third baseman David Freese and a three-run homer by catcher Chris Iannetta. In the third, against P.J. Walters, Albert Pujols led off with a single, Josh Hamilton and Freese drew back-to-back walks, Raul Ibanez hit a sacrifice fly and Howie Kendrick laced a ground-rule double.
The Angels had their everyday lineup on the field for the second time in three games and entered ranked fourth in the Majors in runs this spring.
Mike Trout (2-for-4) is batting .409, Kendrick (1-for-3) is batting .400, Iannetta (1-for-1 with a walk) is batting .360, Erick Aybar (1-for-3) is batting .324 and Kole Calhoun (1-for-4 with a fourth-inning solo homer) is batting .300. Pujols went 1-for-4 with a deep lineout and has his batting average up to .293, Freese went 2-for-2 and has eight hits in his last 21 at-bats and Hamilton went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in his fourth game back from a strained left calf.
Wilson, making his fifth start of the spring, completed 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs (one earned), scattering seven hits, walking two and striking out nine to put his Cactus League ERA at 2.49.
The Royals scored a pair of runs in a long first inning, when Justin Maxwell notched an RBI single and Alex Gordon scored on a passed ball. Gordon gave the Royals an early 3-0 lead with an RBI single in the second, finishing the day 3-for-4 to put his Cactus League batting average at .304. Second baseman Johnny Giavotella went 2-for-2 and is hitting at a .324 clip.
Angels relievers Kevin Jepsen and Joe Smith each pitched in back-to-back games for the first time this spring and turned in scoreless innings.
Up next: The Royals meet their Surprise complex neighbors, the Rangers, for the fourth and final time at 3:05 p.m. CT on Saturday, live on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio. The Royals won two of the first three meetings. Left-hander Jason Vargas will start with Kelvin Herrera coming on in relief. Tommy Hanson is the Rangers' probable starter.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.