(SportsNetwork.com) - Winners in seven of their last eight outings, the LA Angels of Anaheim try to finish off their three-game set against Kansas City on a positive note as they clash with the Royals at Kauffman Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Despite the recent run of success for the Angels, they still find themselves second in the American League West standings, 4 1/2 games off the pace set by the streaking Oakland Athletics. On Saturday the Angels picked up their eighth win in the last 10 opportunities as they delivered a 6-2 victory on the road.
David Freese and Kole Calhoun both accounted for three hits, the former knocking in three runs and the latter scoring twice. Also showing signs of life was Albert Pujols, who tallied a pair of hits and two RBI, giving him five RBI over the last three contests.
"I took some good swings; hitting the balls in the gaps," Freese said. "Those have been hard to find this year. Getting through some baseballs, that's the whole key. I think I've seen the ball fairly well this year. But to do what you want to do, especially at this level, you have to get through the baseball as well as you can. Today was a good day of showing that."
Hector Santiago started the game for the Angels on the mound, but the hurler stuck around for just four innings after weathering a four-hour rain delay. Santiago gave up four hits and struck out four. Mike Morin stepped in and allowed two runs on a pair of hits and a walk in just two innings, yet he was deemed the winning pitcher.
"It seems like anything that can have an effect on a win or me getting a win is happening," Santiago said after his winless streak reached 10 games. "Everybody's like, 'We'll get you a win one of these days.' I'm like, 'As long as we get a win.'"
The losing pitcher of record ended up being Yordano Ventura as he failed to return to action after the downpour. Ventura was charged with two runs on seven hits, striking out three. Bruce Chen came on and was tagged for four runs on five hits and a pair of walks, although he also struck out eight in his five innings of work.
No one in the KC lineup had more than one hit as Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler both crossed the plate in the losing effort.
Next up for the Angels in the pitching rotation is C.J. Wilson, now in his third season with the club after spending the first seven years of his career with the Texas Rangers. The left-hander didn't have his best stuff on Tuesday night against Minnesota, but still managed to pick up the win, his first in three tries.
The California native was touched for six runs on nine hits by the Twins, with two of those hits being home runs. Wilson, already 1-0 this season versus Kansas City, has a career mark of 4-0 against the Royals and also has six saves to his credit in 16 all-time appearances.
As for the hosts, they've penciled in right-hander Jeremy Guthrie to counter Wilson this afternoon. Guthrie is riding a personal hot streak at the moment, having won three straight outings. While that may not be all that impressive, considering the Oregon native won his first two games of the season and then went 11 consecutive appearances with either a loss or a no-decision, it is still a sign that he is moving in the right direction.
On Monday the hurler battled the Los Angeles Dodgers for 7 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits, while striking out five, in order to close to within one game of .500 on his personal record for 2014.
Guthrie, who has pitched the majority of his career in the American League, has a record of 3-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 12 outings against the Angels.
The Angels, who have won the season series against Kansas City each of the last two seasons, are now 3-2 during their 2014 matchups.