Series: Game 2 of 3

Anaheim leads 2-0 (as of 5/21)

Game 1: Monday, May 20
Kansas City 3Final
Anaheim 6
Game 2: Tuesday, May 21
Kansas City 1Final
Anaheim 5
Game 3: Wednesday, May 22
Kansas City 6Final
Anaheim 7

Royals 1

(16-28, 8-15 away)

Angels 5

(26-17, 13-10 home)

    10:05 PM ET, May 21, 2002

    Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California 

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    KC 010000000 1 - -
    ANA 00001040 - 5 - -

    W: D. Cook (1-0)

    L: D. Reichert (2-5)

    Angels ring up 20th victory in 23 games

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Once they didn't have to face Miguel Asencio anymore, the Anaheim Angels' offense did the job.

    Garret Anderson

    After getting held hitless for 4 2/3 innings Tuesday night, the Angels scored four runs in the seventh to beat the Kansas City Royals 5-1 for their 20th victory in 23 games.

    Troy Glaus hit a tiebreaking single and Garret Anderson followed with a three-run homer.

    ``We all believe in each other and we've been confident the whole time,'' Angels center fielder Darin Erstad said. ``We've had different guys come through every night. We're all on the same page, doing great situational hitting and just scrapping.''

    Jose Nieves and Adam Kennedy both reached on errors to open the seventh, leading to four unearned runs against reliever Dan Reichert (2-5).

    ``They cracked the door open a little bit and we took advantage of it, but there was nothing easy about that game,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

    Third baseman Joe Randa misplayed Nieves' routine grounder and A.J. Hinch -- who came in to catch after Juan Brito was lifted for a pinch-runner -- threw wildly past second on a bunt in front of the plate by Kennedy.

    Both runners advanced on Erstad's sacrifice, and the Angels broke open the game on the next two pitches as Glaus singled and Anderson hit his seventh homer.

    ``We gave them the game in the seventh,'' Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney said. ``You can't give a good team those types of chances. We gave them five outs, and they capitalized.''

    Dennis Cook (1-0) got one out for the victory, retiring Carlos Beltran on a grounder with the go-ahead run at second in the seventh.

    Asencio, plucked out of the Kansas City bullpen to make his first major league start, threw 80 pitches and held the Angels hitless through the first 4 2/3 innings. He allowed one run and one hit over five, striking out four and walking four.

    Manager Tony Pena, strapped for a starting pitcher because of Chris George's injured middle finger, said before batting practice that his decision to give Asencio his first start came four days earlier.

    But Pena didn't tell anyone -- including the 21-year-old rookie, who found out when the team returned to their hotel after Monday night's loss. He then called his family back in the Dominican Republic at 3 a.m. their time.

    ``I don't think anybody could have pitched any better than he did the first time out. He was hungry and he wanted the opportunity,'' Pena said.

    ``I was very happy with the way he handled himself. He was like a veteran. He was very calm. He made the pitches against a tough ballclub -- one of the hottest teams in baseball. He made them look real bad at times, especially some of their left-handed hitters.''

    Asencio walked three of his first eight batters and stranded a runner at second base in each of the first two innings before giving up his only hit -- a two-out RBI single in the fifth by Kennedy. It came on an 0-1 fastball down and in, and drove in Scott Spiezio, who drew a leadoff walk and advanced on a groundout.

    ``That guy's got a fine arm for a kid who pitched in the Florida State League last year,'' Scioscia said. ``We knew he had a real live arm, which he showed. Even though he walked four guys, he really had good command of his changeup and threw it a lot when he was behind in the count.''

    Sweeney and Michael Tucker singled in the second inning against Anaheim's Aaron Sele and advanced on a wild pitch before Raul Ibanez's groundout delivered Sweeney with the game's first run.

    Game notes

    Asencio's longest relief stint for the Royals was three innings. He was the 10th different pitcher to start a game for them this season, matching last year's total. ... Angels SS and leadoff hitter David Eckstein sat out for the first time this season with a sprained left knee, which he injured while avoiding a tag at first base in the fourth inning Monday night. He was examined by team Dr. Lewis Yocum and underwent an MRI exam, which detected a sprain of the medial collateral ligament. Eckstein was the only Angels player to start at the same position through the first 42 games, and in the same spot in the batting order.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press