ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- As the backup catcher for the Los Angeles
Angels, Jose Molina doesn't get to play much.
Fortunately for the Angels, he was in the lineup Sunday.
Molina had three hits including a bases-clearing double, and
made a big defensive play in the ninth inning as the Angels held
off the Kansas City Royals 7-6 to complete a three-game series
"You want to be a little bit more aggressive when runners are
in scoring position," Molina said of his fifth-inning double off
the right-center field fence. "I got a fastball and it found the
Molina's hit off Runelvys Hernandez (2-7) gave the Angels a 7-2
lead. They didn't have another baserunner after that, but had
already scored enough runs to win.
"Fortunately, we held on," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
"You would like to have it cleaner, but we got it done."
Molina, who turns 30 next week, went 3-for-4 to raise his
batting average to .260 in 73 at-bats with 10 RBI. He backs up his
older brother, Bengie.
The win was the fourth straight for the Angels, who are a
season-best 10 games over .500 and a half-game ahead of the Texas
Rangers in the AL West. The Angels scored 30 runs in sweeping the
Royals after totaling only 31 in their previous nine games.
Bartolo Colon (6-3) won despite allowing a season-high 12 hits
and four runs in 7 2/3 innings. He walked none and struck out six.
Hernandez gave up 10 hits and seven runs in five innings while
walking three and striking out six.
Kansas City's Mark Teahen hit a two-out, two-run single off
Brendan Donnelly in the eighth, and Tony Graffanino did the same
thing off Scot Shields in the ninth before Shields threw a called
third strike past Ruben Gotay for his seventh save in eight
Graffanino had a career-high five hits and three RBI, but
preferred to speak on another subject.
"My day started going to chapel, and I listened to a guy
deliver a message where he's got a couple of weeks to live because
he's dying of cancer, and everything just got put into perspective
-- which is needed every now and again," Graffanino said. "I want
to honor him. I think he's just a tremendous man, coming out here
and still doing chapels when he's only got so many weeks left. So
whatever I did today, I want all the focus to go on him."
The Royals have lost six straight and eight of nine. At 13-37,
they have the worst record in the majors and their poorest in
franchise history through 50 games. Kansas City has been swept
seven times in series of at least three games this season, and
hasn't swept the opposition in 78 straight series.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by
Graffanino. Teahen hit Colon's first pitch of the fifth into the
lower left field seats for his second homer. Donnelly relieved
Colon with runners at second and third and two outs in the eighth
and gave up the two-run single to Teahen.
The Royals loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. Matt Diaz
then hit a broken-bat grounder to Shields, whose throw home was in
the dirt. But Molina dug it out for the force play before just
throwing to first, where Diaz barely beat the throw.
"I didn't have a good grip on it. I tried to push it and made a
bad throw," Shields said. "That's on me."
Graffanino followed with his fifth hit before Shields struck out
Molina said the Angels prepare for bad throws like the one
Shields made starting in spring training.
Emil Brown had three hits, and Teahen added two for the Royals.
Teahen entered the game in a 3-for-29 slump.
Finley has driven in three runs in each of the last two
games to give him 29 RBI this season. Seventeen of his 34 hits are
for extra bases. ... The Royals have lost nine straight road games
-- their longest such losing streak since they dropped 10 straight
on the road during the 2002 season. ... Los Angeles' Chone Figgins
went hitless in three at-bats with a walk to end his 11-game
hitting streak, the longest by an Angels player this season. ...
The Royals are 5-3 on Sundays. ... Scioscia said OF Vladimir
Guerrero, on the 15-day disabled list because of a partially
dislocated left shoulder, probably won't be activated when eligible
next Sunday. He was injured while sliding headfirst into home plate
May 20. ... Royals OF Terrence Long was removed from the game in
the sixth inning because of tightness behind his left knee. ... The
Angels open a 12-game road trip Monday in Chicago. They also face
Boston, Atlanta and the New York Mets. Those four teams have a
combined record of 61-28 in home games this season.