After the Angels grabbed their first lead in the sixth, 6-5, Noe Ramirez gave up a game-tying homer to Salvador Perez a half-inning later. But the Angels were the ones who landed the last blow, in the form of three straight RBI singles in the eighth that served as the final arbiter of a back-and-forth series opener.
Martin Maldonado started off the eighth inning with a hard-fought walk, on seven pitches, before being pinch-run for by Kaleb Cowart. Michael Hermosillo followed with a walk of his own. After Ian Kinsler struck out, Trout hit a slow dribbler up the middle that scooted into center field to bring home Cowart, making it 7-6.
"That guy was pretty funky," said Trout, referring to the hop on his single. "Once I got to two strikes, I was just trying to put the ball in play, and I just found a hole up the middle."
Justin Upton singled to right two pitches later to bring home Hermosillo, then Albert Pujols followed up by knocking in Trout for the second time in three innings.
Upton also added a solo homer in the fifth inning, and went 3-for-4 overall with two RBIs and a walk.
Nick Tropeano allowed five earned runs on nine hits with a walk and five strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision. He had come into Monday having allowed three runs or fewer in four of his last five starts, but his splitter and fastball placement wasn't up to par against the Royals.
"Obviously, I didn't have my best stuff today," Tropeano said. "Having a leadoff guy on there almost every inning isn't a recipe for success. I felt good physically. I think I let up a lot of 0-2 hits, and that's just a matter of putting them away, executing pitches, especially with runners in scoring position.
"I'd say my fastball command wasn't quite what it was, as crisp the last two outings, and I think that's what led to the five runs."
Five relievers accounted for the other 4 1/3 innings -- Jim Johnson, Jose Alvarez, Ramirez, Cam Bedrosian and Blake Parker combining to allow just one run, Perez's homer.
"That's a team," Tropeano said. "We're gonna pick each other up. Offense picked me up huge, bullpen picked me up huge, and we got the win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Marte's homer ignites rally:Jefry Marte, who got the nod at first base with the Royals starting lefty Danny Duffy, had four hits on the night, including a solo homer that started the Halos' sixth-inning rally.
"Hopefully Jefry's just getting comfortable in the box. I mean, this guy, really -- he's got a great approach, especially against left-handed pitching, and we saw it a couple years ago," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It hasn't quite surfaced, but you saw tonight. He had a great night, and hopefully it's a sign of better things to come."
Ohtani provides a spark: With a right-hander coming in to replace Duffy following Marte's homer, Scioscia whipped out his shiny, new, left-handed-hitting force off the bench: Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani kept the momentum going with a base hit to the right side that slipped under the second baseman's glove for a single.
"That got the rally started -- good time for it right there," Scioscia said.
After Kinsler walked, Trout laced a single to center to bring Ohtani home and level the score at 5. Kinsler got thrown out at the plate on Upton's grounder, but Pujols cashed in Trout with a single up the middle that gave the Angels their first lead.
SOUND SMART Pujols recorded his 3,024th and 3,025th career hits, passing Lou Brock for 27th on the all-time list. His eighth-inning single gave him 1,950 RBIs -- one shy of Stan Musial for seventh all-time.
UP NEXT The Angels will turn to Andrew Heaney (2-4, 3.66 ERA) on four days' rest Tuesday night at 7:07 PT in the second game of their three-game series against the Royals. In his last start, Heaney gave up five earned runs over five innings in a loss to the Tigers. This will be the lefty's second start of the season against Kansas City. In his first, he gave up three earned runs over five innings, with seven strikeouts, in a no-decision. The Royals are calling on Brad Keller (1-1, 2.13 ERA), who will make his second career start after opening the season in the bullpen.
Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim.