That is the storyline from this evening as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Kansas City Royals tonight in Surprise. After having a solid spring up to this point, the Royals have now lost their last three games. After a rainout yesterday, the Royals were ready to get back at it this evening with Jeff Francis getting the start. However with all the mental mistakes it proved costly as they went down 14-6.
Los Angeles scored twice in the top of the first on a two out Chris Pettit double, leading to an early 2-0 lead. However Kansas City answered in the bottom half when a Melky Cabrera sacrifice fly scored Mike Aviles.
The Royals then took the lead in the bottom of the second on a two run home run to center by shortstop Alcides Escobar. Escobar's third home run of the spring came off Angels starter Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood was solid in his start, going five innings and giving up three runs on four hits, including four strikeouts.
Peter Bourjos then tied the game in the third on a solo homerun off Francis. Francis gave up six runs through five on six hits, with seven strikeouts. However only three of the runs were earned runs, showing the benefits the Angels received from the Royals errors in the field.
Los Angeles also scored two in the fourth and one in the fifth, which came on the benefit of an error by right-fielder Lorenzo Cain. Cain who had two errors on the evening, likely hurt any chance he had of making the Opening Day roster as the Royals have many outfielders on the current roster. Look for Cain, who came over in the Zack Greinke deal, to start the season in Omaha.
Francis was replaced by reliever Tim Collins who pitched the sixth and gave up one hit, but no runs. Collins also had a strikeout of Angel Castillo.
In the seventh the Angels added to the lead, again the benefit of a Cain error. Hank Conger had a two run RBI double off Kanekoa Texiera in part of a three run inning to make it 9-3 in the seventh. However none of the runs were earned. The Angels scored six unearned runs off the Royals on the evening, which made it difficult for the Royals to ever have a chance.
Kansas City loaded the bases off Jason Bulger in the bottom of the seventh, but Mike Aviles struck out to end the inning and any Kansas City threat to draw closer.
Things got worse in the eighth off Robert Fish. The former Angels farmhand allowed Los Angeles to load the bases before he gave up a grand slam to centerfielder Clay Fuller, his first home run this spring.
Billy Butler hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth, his third in Arizona to go with 14 RBI. The first basemen is now batting .352. Melky Cabrera also had two hits and an RBI in the loss, and is now batting an even .500.
In addition to Butler's home run, the Royals scored two additional runs in the eighth on ground outs by both Brayan Pena and Gregor Blanco.
The Angels added one in the ninth to bring the final margin on a Conger home run.
The Royals fell to 14-9-1, while the Angels improved to 12-12-1. Francis took the loss, while Chatwood picked up the victory. As Denny Matthews said on the radio this evening as he signed off, "The best thing about tonight is...it doesn't count".
Kansas City will be playing the Cleveland Indians tomorrow afternoon in Goodyear with Nathan Adcock starting for the Royals.
One final note for the evening, as Kansas City traded reserve outfielder Brett Carroll to the Milwaukee Brewers for cash considerations. Carroll was a non-roster invitee to Royals spring training after having previously been a member of the Florida Marlins organization. He was 0-15 at the plate with the Royals in spring training.