Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) – Bruce Chen carried a perfect game into the seventh and Jose Guillen laced a two-run single an inning later to break a scoreless tie, and Kansas City went on to beat the Angels, 4-2.
Chen (5-2) dominated early on and worked a two-hit outing through 7 1/3 innings, walking one. His lone blemish was a Jeff Mathis solo home run in the eighth, after which he was pulled. Erick Aybar led off the seventh with a base hit into left field to spoil any notion of perfection.
“I kept the ball down and had command of all my pitches. The defense made some great plays. Everyone wants to throw a no-hitter but I know it’s hard. I really feel good and I’m putting everything together,” Chen said.
The surging Royals have won seven of their last nine, including the first two games to this three-game series. Joakim Soria recorded his 22nd save after surviving a rocky ninth, getting Hideki Matsui to swing through a fastball for the final out with two in scoring position.
Ervin Santana (8-6) went 8 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts for Los Angeles, which has dropped three of four overall.
Santana was able to work out of trouble by stranding runners in scoring position in the first and sixth innings to match Chen on the scoreboard through six innings.
Chen set down the first 18 batters and was buoyed by a pair of terrific diving catches by David DeJesus in center field. Aybar, though, sent a base hit into shallow left to start the seventh, shattering any hopes of history. Aybar was sacrificed to second, but Chen fanned Bobby Abreu and got Mike Napoli to pop out after issuing an intentional walk to Torii Hunter.
“It’s a game of inches. DeJesus made some great plays on me and Bobby (Abreu). A lot of things went their way. Bruce pitched well and threw strikes, he was good today,” said Hunter.
The Royals rallied for their starter in the next inning to breach the scoreboard. Jason Kendall kept things alive with a two-out hit, DeJesus followed suit and Billy Butler was drilled with a rising fastball by Santana to load the bases.
Guillen ripped a base hit up the middle to score two, but Chen gave one back when Mathis homered to end his outing in the bottom half. Kyle Farnsworth came on for the next two outs and KC bolstered its lead in the ninth.
A run-scoring fielder’s choice from Kendall with the bases loaded and a wild pitch by Francisco Rodriguez made it 4-1 for the visitors.
Soria loaded the bases with one out on two hits and a walk in the ninth, but yielded only a Napoli sacrifice fly, as Matsui struck out to end the game.
It was the fourth win in the last six outings and second in a row for Chen…Santana had won seven of his last nine starts, including two in a row. He’s 4-4 in nine career outings against the Royals…Kansas City evened the season series at three games apiece.