KANSAS CITY -- Mike Moustakas' go-ahead home run off reliever Jose Alvarez in the eighth inning powered the Royals to a 3-2 win on Saturday night, clinching a series victory against the Angels at Kauffman Stadium.Moustakas crushed a 1-1 fastball to right-center field for his fifth homer of the season,
KANSAS CITY -- Mike Moustakas' go-ahead home run off reliever Jose Alvarez in the eighth inning powered the Royals to a 3-2 win on Saturday night, clinching a series victory against the Angels at Kauffman Stadium.
Moustakas crushed a 1-1 fastball to right-center field for his fifth homer of the season, breaking a 2-2 tie and restoring the Royals' lead. Moustakas' solo shot came an inning after the Angels rallied to even the game at 2 on Ben Revere's RBI single off Kansas City reliever Joakim Soria.
"Tough lefty on the mound, and I was trying to get something out over the plate," Moustakas said. "[Alvarez] came with a fastball, and I was able to put the barrel on it. I'm seeing the ball pretty good right now. I had some pretty good at-bats earlier in the game, but just didn't have anything to show for it."
It was the 300th career RBI for Moustakas, who blasted his third career go-ahead homer in the eighth inning or later. He has also homered in consecutive games for the eighth time in his career.
Royals closer Kelvin Herrera pitched a clean ninth to pick up his second save of the season.
"That's kind of how we've been around here," Moustakas said. "Get a lead and turn it over to those guys at the back end."
Right-hander Nathan Karns held the Angels to one run over six innings, allowing just four singles, while walking two and striking out three in his second start of the season. Karns gave up a run in the first on an Jose Pujols groundout, but Karns blanked the Angels the rest of the way -- at one point retiring 12 in a row -- and departed with a 2-1 lead.
Angels right-hander Matthew Shoemaker allowed two runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts in a 105-pitch effort. Shoemaker endured a taxing first inning, surrendering an RBI single to Eric Hosmer and throwing 33 pitches. But Shoemaker recovered well, pitching into the sixth before being lifted after issuing a one-out walk to Hosmer. The only other blip for Shoemaker came in the fourth, when he gave up a solo shot to Brandon Moss that put the Royals ahead, 2-1.
After a 6-2 start, the Angels have lost four straight games. Their offense has mustered only three runs on 10 hits -- none for extra bases -- over the first two games of the series. Entering Friday's series opener, the Halos led the American League in hits, total bases and batting average.
"If you're constantly coming from behind, your offense can stall," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've come back a number of times this year, but you want to get the game on your terms so you keep pressuring teams, and we haven't been able to do that. But we've got a lot of confidence in what we're going to do in the batter's box. The last week has been a little spotty."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Moss' early go-ahead shot: Moss broke a 1-1 tie with a solo home run off Shoemaker in the fourth. Moss, who entered Saturday batting .077 (2-for-26) over eight games, hammered a 2-1 splitter to right field for his second homer of the season. The ball had an exit velocity of 103 mph and a launch angle of 37 degrees, traveling an estimated 392 feet, according to Statcast™.
Angels pitchers have surrendered 19 home runs in 12 games, the most of any AL team.
Escaping trouble: Soria had another strong outing. Although he allowed a game-tying single to Revere in the seventh, Soria kept the game tied at 2 by striking out Pujols with the bases loaded to end the inning. He then came through with a scoreless eighth, fanning four over 1 2/3 innings and earning the win.
"[Soria] ended up giving up the base hit to Revere on a two-strike changeup that was up just a hair," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That was the only blip that he had. His pitches all had action. He just threw the ball great."
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
In the fifth, Martin Maldonado hit a two-out grounder to third and was initially ruled safe at first. But the Royals issued a challenge after first baseman Hosmer appeared to keep his foot on the bag while making an outstanding pick on Moustakas' throw. The call was overturned following the replay review, ending the inning.
Angels: The Angels will send left-hander Tyler Skaggs to the mound Sunday for the series finale with the Royals at Kauffman Stadium at 11:15 a.m. PT. Skaggs has an 8.71 ERA over his first two starts, allowing five runs in each of those outings.
Royals: The Royals will go with right-hander Ian Kennedy for the series finale against the Angels on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT. Kennedy has pitched well in his first two starts, but he has yet to notch his first win due to a lack of offensive support.
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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com.