Guerrero reaches 30 HR mark in Angels' win over Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't
mind relying on rookie pitchers. Still, it's nice to have veteran
hitters to back them up.

Robb Quinlan and Vladimir Guerrero homered to back rookie Joe
Saunders, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Kansas City Royals
5-2 Tuesday night as they tried to gain ground in the AL West.

Saunders (6-3) struck out a career-high eight in seven innings,
allowing one run and seven hits, and Angels rookie starters
improved to 18-5 this season. He escaped a bases-loaded, one-out
jam in the fifth when he struck out Emil Brown and Ryan Shealy.

"Joe pitched well," Scioscia said. "Kansas City is tough.
They've got an offense -- with Mike Sweeney back in the middle of it
-- that can score runs if you're not getting the ball in the right
spot. When guys got on, Joe made some pitches."

The Angels remained 6 games behind division-leading Oakland
with 11 games remaining.

With the victory by Saunders (6-3), Angels rookie starters
improved to 18-5 this season.

"It comes down to talent," Scioscia said. "I think these guys
are good. They throw the ball extremely well and we're supporting
them when they pitch. A lot of people call them young pitchers. I
think pretty soon you're just going to be calling them good

Saunders escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth when
he struck out Emil Brown and Ryan Shealy.

"I buckled down and tried to keep the ball down," Saunders
said. "I had better command tonight. I could throw all three
pitches for strikes. They were hitting it all around the park on
me, so it wasn't just one pitch. When the opposing team knows you
can throw everything you've got for strikes, it benefits you."

Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his major
league-leading 43rd save in 47 chances.

Kansas City clinched its third straight last-place finish in the
AL Central, the first time that's happened in the history of the
franchise. The Royals (58-93) must win five of their last 11 games
to avoid their fourth 100-loss season in five years.

"We had a couple of chances, but couldn't come up with the big
hit," Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said.

Jose De La Rosa (3-3) allowed four runs, four hits and four
walks in 6 2/3 innings. The Angels have won 12 of their last 14
games in Kansas City.

"I thought he did a great job," Bell said. "He only gave up
two hits through six innings. Both were home runs and both were
legit, but the kid pitched great. We probably took him a little bit
further than we needed to."

Quinlan's two-out homer put the Angels ahead in the second, but
Paul Phillips tied the score with a bloop RBI single in the bottom

Guerrero gave the Angels a 2-1 lead in the sixth, reaching 30
homers for the third straight season and eighth time in nine years.

"This guy is as good a hitter as there's been in the game,"
Scioscia said. "He not only puts up numbers, but he's clutch. It's
been fun to watch. He's certainly held up his end of what we

Los Angeles added a pair of runs in the eighth when Howie
Kendrick hit a two-out RBI double and scored on Mike Napoli's
single. Garret Anderson added a two-out RBI single in the eighth
against Ryan Braun.

Angel Berroa singled in a run off Scott Shields in the bottom

Game notes
Kansas City 2B Mark Grudzielanek left in the third inning
after straining his right groin running out an infield single. ...
The Angels are 245-246 against the Royals.