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Royals on wrong end of nail-biter with Angels

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

ANAHEIM -- The Angels didn't exactly hit Royals reliever Tim Hill hard. But then again, they didn't have to after Hill walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth inning on Monday night.

And one out later, Mike Trout sent a soft grounder back through the middle that eluded Hill and trickled into center field, producing the go-ahead run that sent the Angels to a 9-6 victory at Angel Stadium.

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ANAHEIM -- The Angels didn't exactly hit Royals reliever Tim Hill hard. But then again, they didn't have to after Hill walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth inning on Monday night.

And one out later, Mike Trout sent a soft grounder back through the middle that eluded Hill and trickled into center field, producing the go-ahead run that sent the Angels to a 9-6 victory at Angel Stadium.

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"The walks didn't help [Hill] at all," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We struggled with command all night, really."

Royals catcher Salvador Perez had tied the game at 6 one inning earlier with his 10th homer, stealing the momentum back after the Angels took their first lead with a three-run sixth.

Danny Duffy, who had put together back-to-back strong outings, wasn't as sharp this time around. The lefty went five-plus innings and gave up four runs on seven hits, including home runs by Justin Upton and Jefry Marte.

Video: KC@LAA: Trout chops an RBI single to take lead in 8th

Duffy permitted four hits and three walks in the first two innings but escaped while allowing two runs.

"Fastball command was off," Yost said. "I think he had 57 pitches after two innings. He at least competed out until the sixth inning."

But the number that stood out on Duffy's pitching line was zero strikeouts.

"I just don't think I was locating with my fastball," Duffy said. "No punchouts. I know we were looking for some quick outs, but when you get guys 1-2 and 0-2 and can't punch them out, it's not going to be good.

"I'll be better next time out."

Video: KC@LAA: Soler lines a 2-run double to left field

Despite Duffy's struggles, the Royals were in control for much of his outing, with Jorge Soler's two-run double in the top of the fifth giving them a 5-2 lead.

But Marte's leadoff homer in the sixth ended Duffy's night and kick-started the first of two three-run innings for the Angels.

Video: KC@LAA: Angels score three in 6th to take the lead

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Royals had an excellent chance to extend a 3-2 lead in the third. Mike Moustakas led off with a double and went to third on Perez's hard shot off the third-base bag for an infield single. But Soler followed with a grounder to third and Moustakas took off for home, hoping to lure the Angels away from a double play. Moustakas was out in a rundown. Alex Gordon then struck out and Hunter Dozier flied out, ending the threat.

"Offensively, I didn't really lament any opportunities," Yost said. "We scored some runs."

Video: KC@LAA: Perez rips a single off third base in the 3rd

SOUND SMART
With a pickoff of Marte in the seventh inning, Perez now has 20 career pickoffs, the most in the Major Leagues since he debuted in 2011.

Video: KC@LAA: Perez picks off Marte at first base in 7th

Gordon picked up his 86th career assist in the eighth, second in club history behind Amos Otis' 116.

UP NEXT
Right-hander Brad Keller (1-1, 2.13 ERA) will make his second Major League start in Game 2 of the Royals' series against the Angels on Tuesday at 9:07 p.m CT. He went three innings and gave up one run on Wednesday in his first start, and he'll likely be extended to 70-75 pitches on Tuesday. Left-hander Andrew Heaney (2-4, 3.66 ERA) goes for the Halos.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Tim Hill, Salvador Perez