Washburn pitches five shutout innings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Never before have the Angels been this good at this point in the season.

Jarrod Washburn pitched five scoreless innings Sunday night before rain brought the game to a halt and Los Angeles beat the Kansas City Royals 5-0 to give the Angels their best 81-game record in franchise history.

The Angels (50-31) have won 13 of 16 and are 7½ games ahead of Texas in the AL West -- another franchise best at the midway point.

"We're a good team," Washburn said. "I think we expect ourselves to be playing this well."

They've been particularly tough on the hapless Royals (26-54), who are stuck with their worst record after 80 games. The Angels have beaten Kansas City nine straight times at Kauffman Stadium and have won 13 of the last 15 meetings overall. It was also their fourth sweep in the last five series against the Royals.

Zack Greinke (1-10) joined Seattle's Ryan Franklin as the AL's only 10-game losers. He was charged with five runs and 12 hits in five-plus innings. The right-hander, touted after his rookie season as the cornerstone of the Royals' youth movement, has a 6.09 ERA after 17 starts this year.

"He's such a smart kid. I think sometimes his head gets in the way," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "Ninety percent of the time he's really good. It's the other 10 percent that he's been getting hurt."

Washburn (5-3) gave up four hits in his sixth career complete game and first this season. His only other shutout was July 7 last year against the White Sox. The left-hander struck out three and walked one, improving to 6-2 lifetime against the Royals.

The game was called with none out in the top of the sixth after a rain delay of 1 hour, 46 minutes.

"Any time you only have to go five and get [a shutout], it's got to be easier," said Washburn. "There was no way I was going to go nine. They were making me work too hard for five innings I was out there. It's just good to get a win."

The struggling Royals have won only twice in their last 15 games and scored in only one of the 23 innings they played in this three-game series. They had three runs in the eighth inning of a 5-3 loss to Bartolo Colon on Saturday night and were shut out on two hits by Paul Byrd on Friday.

Garret Anderson, Adam Kennedy, Jeff DaVanon and Maicer Izturis
each had two hits off Greinke, whose only victory this year was against the Yankees when he went five innings.

"I think Zack needs to be here. His record is really no indication of how he's pitched for the whole year," Bell said.

Washburn did not exactly cruise. The Royals put their leadoff man on base each of the first three.

"We made some pitches with guys in scoring position that were key," manager Mike Scioscia said, "both last night and tonight. They obviously had some opportunities against Wash early. They're a scrappy club. We pitched well."

DaVanon and Izturis singled in the second, and DaVanon scored on a double-play grounder by Bengie Molina. Izturis had an RBI double in the fourth and scored on Molina's single.

Back-to-back RBI doubles by Anderson and DaVanon made it 5-0 in the fifth. Chone Figgins was the only batter in Los Angeles' lineup without a hit.

"I thought the fifth inning, they must have figured something out because they started hitting the ball well," Greinke said. "They were jumping on the pitches and hitting them hard."

Royals second baseman Ruben Gotay made an error on Figgins' grounder in the third, letting it glance off his glove into right
field. But he immediately made up for it by turning an impressive double play on a much harder ball off the bat of Darin Erstad.

Game notes
First baseman Mike Sweeney was chosen as Royals' lone All-Star representative. He'll be going for the fifth time. ... The Angels' All-Stars are Colon and outfielders Vladimir Guerrero and Anderson. ... This was the Royals' only Sunday night game of the
season. ... Since Guerrero's return from the disabled list, the Angels are 16-6. ... It was the Angels' major league-leading ninth shutout.