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Mike Trout is warming up after a slow start and the Los Angeles Angels appear to be rounding into the team many expected. Behind Trout, who is batting .366 in May, the Angels look to extend their season-high winning streak to seven games Saturday as they continue their four-game set at the Kansas City Royals. Trout posted his 11th multi-hit performance this month and scored twice in Friday’s 5-2 victory, sparking a three-run seventh inning when he scored after benefiting from a blown call on a stolen base.
Since taking two of three from the Angels last week, the Royals have dropped seven of their last eight. Kansas City, which is last in the American League with 28 home runs, has been particularly deficient of power during the slide as part-time player Miguel Tejada – who will turn 39 on Saturday – has supplied the team’s only two blasts. The Royals have lost 14 of 18 overall, scoring three runs or fewer in 11 of the defeats.
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN (Kansas City)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Billy Buckner (NR) vs. Royals RH Jeremy Guthrie (5-2, 3.49 ERA)
Buckner, a second-round pick of the Royals in 2004, will make his first major-league appearance since 2010 in place of Tommy Hanson. The 29-year-old was recalled on May 16 from Triple-A Salt Lake, where he went 4-2 with a 4.56 ERA in eight outings. Buckner lost all three of his starts in 2010 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and is 6-11 with a 6.25 ERA in 36 career appearances (21 starts). He did, however, collect a victory in one of his two relief outings against Kansas City in 2008.
Guthrie saw his 18-game unbeaten streak come to an end 11 days ago against the Angels and didn’t fare much better in Monday’s 6-5 setback at Houston. The 34-year-old veteran was tagged for six runs and eight hits in five innings and is 0-2 with an 8.25 ERA over his last two outings after beginning the season with a 5-0 record and 2.28 ERA in seven starts. In 11 career appearances (10 starts) against Los Angeles, Guthrie is 3-4 with a 4.17 ERA.
1. Buckner will be the 21st pitcher used by the Angels this season.
2. Guthrie, who is 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA all-time at Kauffman Stadium, is unbeaten in his last 10 starts at home.
3. Los Angeles’ rotation has posted a 1.98 ERA during the club’s winning streak.
PREDICTION: Royals 5, Angels 3