KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Janson Junk pitched five-plus innings of four-hit ball for the Angels, earning his first major league win and watching the Los Angeles bullpen shut down the Kansas City Royals the rest of the way in a 4-0 victory.
Shohei Ohtani reached base three times and drove in a run, pacing a scuffling Angels offense that managed to capitalize on the Royals’ shoddy fielding and get their first series win since June 27-29 against the White Sox.
Summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake to make the start, the 26-year-old Junk (1-0) allowed four hits and a walk while striking out eight before turning over a 2-0 lead to his bullpen, which did not allow a run for the second consecutive day.
Brad Keller (5-11) allowed three runs on six hits and three walks in six innings for Kansas City. He retired the first nine batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth, when Kurt Suzuki led off with a double to left field that Andrew Benintendi didn’t field cleanly enough to hold Suzuki to one bag.
One out later, Phil Gosselin drove a pitch to right that MJ Melendez – a catcher by trade who was making his eighth career start in the outfield – couldn’t snare while crashing into the wall. Gosselin cruised into third with a run-scoring triple while Melendez, whose face smacked the metal fencing, needed a moment to recover before staying in the game.
Brandon Marsh proceeded to drive in Gosselin for a 2-0 lead.
Gosselin had a chance to do more damage in the sixth, when Jared Walsh and Suzuki hit one-out singles and Magneuris Sierra walked to load the bases. Instead, Gosselin grounded to shortstop for an inning-ending double play.
It didn’t matter. The Royals never came close to solving Junk or the Los Angeles bullpen all afternoon.
Angels OF Mike Trout will go at least another week without baseball activity because of his ailing back, trainer Mike Frostad said, and there’s a chance the three-time AL MVP could need to manage it the rest of his career. Trout left a game against Houston on July 12 with what was called back spasms, then went on the injured list a week later with rib case inflammation. He had a cortisone injection last week for what has since been determined to be a rare spinal dysfunction.
Angels: RHP Austin Warren was optioned to Salt Lake to make room for Junk on the roster.
Royals: LHP Angel Zerpa went on the IL after hurting his right knee while fielding a grounder down the first-base line in his start Tuesday night. RHP Jackson Kowar was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to replace him.
Angels: OF Jo Adell got the day off after getting hit in the arm by a pitch Tuesday night.
Royals: SS Bobby Witt Jr. (hamstring) missed his third straight game, though manager Mike Matheny said he’s still hopeful of avoiding an IL trip. … 1B Vinnie Pasquantino was out of the lineup with right thumb discomfort.
Angels: Head home for a four-game series against Texas with RHP Shohei Ohtani (9-5, 2.80 ERA) starting Thursday night’s opener.
Royals: Embark on a seven-game trip with RHP Brady Singer (4-3, 3.82) on the mound for the first of four games against the Yankees on Thursday night.