ANAHEIM -- Angels right-hander Alex Meyer matched a career-high with nine strikeouts and Jose Pujols belted a two-run blast to take sole possession of 10th all-time on the career RBI list to lead the Halos to a 9-0 win over Kansas City on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.Meyer tossed six
ANAHEIM -- Angels right-hander Alex Meyer matched a career-high with nine strikeouts and Jose Pujols belted a two-run blast to take sole possession of 10th all-time on the career RBI list to lead the Halos to a 9-0 win over Kansas City on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
Meyer tossed six shutout innings, relinquishing just two hits and permitting one walk en route to snapping the Royals' season-best six-game win streak. The 6-foot-9 flamethrower earned his first win since May 14.
"If you go back to where he was last year, and if you go back to where he was at in Spring Training, he's moved light years ahead," Angels manager Mike Scioscia of Meyer's performance. "That's going to be important for his growth."
"The more you're out there, the more comfortable you get," said Meyer, who lowered his ERA to 3.52 with the win. "It's a matter of being consistent."
Cameron Maybin belted a home run off of Royals starter Jake Junis' first pitch of the game. The Kansas City rookie relinquished five runs on eight hits, including Pujols' fifth-inning shot, permitting no walks and striking out six before exiting after 5 1/3 innings.
"I thought it was a decent pitch," Junis said of the pitch to Pujols. "I thought he swung through the same pitch a couple of times before, but that's why he's one of the greatest hitters of all time."
• Royals' confidence still high
Luis Valbuena added a three-run insurance home run off Royals reliever Christopher Young during the Angels' four-run seventh inning. Relievers Richard Parker, Cam Bedrosian and Yusmeiro Petit combined for three shutout innings to draw Los Angeles back to .500 at 36-36.
"We got on a little roll today," Meyer said. "It was a big game for us after losing the first couple of the series."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Kansas City blues: The Royals were unable to take advantage after winning a challenge during the top of the sixth inning. Danny Espinosa's error at second set the table for Jorge Bonifacio with runners on first and second with none out, but the right fielder grounded into 6-4-3 double play, and two at-bats later, Meyer struck out his ninth batter of the day, maintaining the Angels' 5-0 lead.
"You don't see many curve balls like that," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Meyer. "[Astros starter Lance] McCullers has one. But not many guys have that."
Breaking it open: Espinosa scored two with a bases-loaded single to give the Angels a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Espinosa, who struggled through an 0-for-36 slump in early May, is 12-for-46 (.260) with 11 RBIs in his last 14 games.
"They say a blind squirrel will find a nut every once in awhile. I guess I was able to find a nut." -- Maybin, on his 2-for-4 game
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Dating back to May 14, Maybin has reached safely in 22 straight contests. More >
UNDER FURTHER REVIEW
Andrew Butera was ruled out upon taking second base when Whit Merrifield grounded into a 6-4 putout, which was mishandled by Espinosa before he stepped on the base. The Royals challenged the call, and after review, the call was overturned and Butera was safe at second base. Kansas City is now 14-3 on challenges this season.
Royals: Left-hander Jason Vargas (9-3, 2.10 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals on Sunday at 2:37 p.m. CT in the series finale against the Angels. Vargas gave up one run over seven innings in the Royals' 8-1 win over the Giants on Tuesday.
Angels: Right-hander JC Ramirez (6-4, 4.19) will take the ball for Sunday's series finale against Kansas City at 12:37 p.m. PT. Ramirez tossed a career-high 111 pitches while drawing a no-decision in his last outing in the Angels' 3-2 win over the Yankees. He allowed two runs and struck out seven batters in 6 2/3 innings.
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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.
Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.