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Halos unable to pick up Ramirez, fall to KC
By Jeffrey Flanagan and Maria Guardado
KANSAS CITY --- Left-hander Danny Duffy turned in his third straight strong start to open the season, handcuffing the Angels on three hits and one run over seven innings as the Royals won their second straight, 7-1, on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Duffy (2-0) walked two and struck out six while lowering his ERA to 1.80. He retired 20 of the last 22 batters he faced.
Angels right-hander JC Ramirez made his first Major League start after 111 career relief appearances in place of Garrett Richards, who landed on the disabled list last week with a right biceps strain. Ramirez, who last started in Double-A in 2011, gave up five hits and four runs over five innings, though he finished strong and retired the last seven batters he faced.
"I think the first three innings were rough innings," Ramirez said. "They were aggressive to me. I could have been putting a better combination of my pitches. I think that's all."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he expects Ramirez to stay in the rotation for at least one more turn, with his second start scheduled for Wednesday against the Astros in Houston.
"If nothing changes, we're anticipating it," Scioscia said. "The way he came back the last couple of innings, hopefully he can grow with it. As of right now, we have him on the board and we'll see where it is."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED The ambush was on: It didn't take long for the Royals to pounce on Ramirez. After the Angels took a 1-0 lead, the Royals needed to see just three pitches to take the lead themselves in the first. Alex Gordon ripped a single to right on an 0-1 count. Then Moustakas clobbered a belt-high fastball into the right-center-field seats for his fourth home run. Moustakas' homer traveled an estimated 425 feet and its exit velocity was 104.4 mph, according to Statcast™.
"It's nice to get some action going early," Yost said.
Moustakas had seven home runs before his 2016 season ended in early May because of an ACL injury.
"I feel good again at the plate," Moustakas said, "but the key is to maintain it."
Tough night: Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun had a rather tough night in the field and on the bases. Calhoun misjudged a Lorenzo Cain liner in the third with Moustakas on first and none out. Moustakas froze, thinking Calhoun had it easily, but the ball sailed over Calhoun's head for a double -- the Catch Probability according to Statcast™ was 81 percent.
"When I hit it, I thought he would make a diving catch," Cain said. "Then it went over his head and I started thinking three, but Moose had to hold up in front of me."
The Royals made Calhoun pay for the mistake as a groundout by Eric Hosmer and a sacrifice fly by Perez plated both runners, making it 5-1.
In the first, Calhoun was cut down trying to go from first to third on a nice throw by Cain in center field. More >
"It was nice. I've been there before. I'm not trying to sound full of myself. But when you hit that kind of groove, it's definitely not a bad feeling." -- Duffy, on retiring 20 of the last 22 hitters he faced
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
When Perez clubbed his team-leading fifth homer in the sixth, it was the Royals' 12th solo home run out of the 14 they've hit this season. Perez's shot went an estimated 425 feet, according to Statcast™, and its exit velocity was 106.2 mph.
WHAT'S NEXT Angels: Right-hander Matt Shoemaker will make his third start Saturday -- Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball -- when the Angels play the middle game of their three-game series with the Royals at 4:15 p.m. PT at Kauffman Stadium. Shoemaker has posted a 7.71 ERA over his first two outings and allowed seven runs (six earned) over 4 1/3 innings against the Mariners on Sunday.
Royals: Right-hander Nathan Karns takes the mound for the Royals in Game 2 of the series at 6:15 p.m. CT on Saturday. Karns worked 5 2/3 innings Sunday against the Astros, giving up one run.