ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Paul Abbott is exactly where he wanted to
The Royals remained three games behind Minnesota and Chicago in
the AL Central race after earning a split of the four-game series.
Abbott (1-0) earned his first major league win since April 13,
2002. He had shoulder surgery in the summer of 2002.
"It's probably better off for me to come back in this kind of
situation, because I have to pitch well right away -- instead of
feeling my way around the arm surgery," Abbott said.
"We're in a pennant race, which is something I hadn't been a
part of since I was healthy. So it's like not missing a beat -- in
terms of the circumstances. Now I have to put a premium on
pitching, which is a plus for me."
Abbott helped pitch Seattle to the ALCS in 2000 and 2001. The
Royals got him Aug. 8 from Arizona after he began the season with
the Diamondbacks' Triple-A team in Tucson.
"I thought I'd be back around the middle of May," Abbott said.
"I talked to some guys who have had labrum surgeries, and they
said they were back in 6-8 months. I didn't get back until over a
year, so it was frustrating. "
In his fifth start with the Royals, Abbott allowed five hits
over seven innings while striking out three and walking none. He's
allowed just two earned runs and seven hits 17 1-3 innings over his
last three starts.
Had Abbott kept his pitch count down, manager Tony Pena said he
would have allowed the 10-year veteran to try for his first shutout
in 90 career starts. But he spent 13 pitches during one at-bat by
Scott Spiezio, who fouled off eight straight pitches before
grounding out to second in the third inning.
"My pitch count would have been in half if it wasn't for that
at-bat," Abbott joked. "I told him, `Next time, just tell me
where you want it.' I got him on a fastball down the middle. That
one confused him, I guess."
Jeremy Affeldt pitched two innings for his third save.
The Royals, who haven't won a season series from the Angels
since 1996, won only three of the nine meetings this year against
the World Series champions. All three wins were shutouts.
Guiel, who hit his first career leadoff home run last Thursday
against Arizona's Randy Johnson, did it again against John Lackey
(9-14). He tucked a 1-2 pitch just inside the right-field pole for
14th of the season and 10th on the road.
"I had him where I wanted him, but I just missed my spot with
the pitch," Lackey said. "I tried to go up and in, and I put it
down and in."
Joe Randa followed with a single, and would have been forced at
second on Mike Sweeney's potential double-play grounder to third.
But second baseman Adam Kennedy crossed the bag before catching
Shawn Wooten's throw, and all hands were safe as Sweeney beat the
relay to first.
The Royals converted Kennedy's error into an unearned run when
Lackey threw a wild pitch and Carlos Beltran hit a sacrifice fly.
Harvey, 8-for-18 in the series, made it 3-0 in the sixth with
his 12th homer.
Lackey lowered his ERA to a season-best 4.84 despite losing for
the sixth time in his last eight decisions.
Pena carries two books with him for inspiration:
"Twenty-one Indispensable Qualities of a Leader," and "In
pursuit of Excellence." ... Ramon Ortiz won't be able to make his
next scheduled start on Tuesday night at Oakland because of the
death of his father, Alfonso, on Saturday night. The Angels
right-hander is back home in the Dominican Republic until the
funeral. ... RHP Chris Bootcheck, the Angels' No. 1 draft pick in
2000, will make his major league in Ortiz's place. ... Angels RF
Tim Salmon did not start because of a stiff back, but said before
the game that his condition wouldn't be enough to keep him out of
the lineup if the team was still in contention.