Royals' bullpen yields four runs in ninth in 4-0 loss to Angels

Good pitching only takes you so far.

The Royals wasted Brett Tomko’s seven shutout innings Monday night in a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Kauffman Stadium.

The Angels scored the game’s only run on Casey Kotchman’s RBI single in the ninth inning against Jimmy Gobble.

That opened the floodgates.

The Angels blew the game open with two-out homers by Garret Anderson and Brandon Wood against Joel Peralta. It marked the first time all year the Angels hit consecutive homers.

And that was plenty for Ervin Santana, who improved to 6-0 with a four-hit shutout. Santana was efficiently dominant in a 97-pitch performance that included eight strikeouts and no walks. Twenty-one of the Royals’ 31 batters saw three or fewer pitches.

The loss dropped the Royals to 14-17 and marked the second time in four games that they failed to capitalize on a marvelous outing by a starting pitcher. Zack Greinke gave up just two runs and four hits in seven innings last Thursday in a 2-1 loss at Texas.

Tomko was even better.

He limited the Angels to two singles while striking out seven and walking two in a 96-pitch performance before handing a scoreless tie to Ramirez.

It was, at least, a much-needed turnaround for Tomko, who had allowed 16 runs and 24 hits in 14 1/3 innings in his previous three starts. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings last Tuesday in a 9-5 victory at Texas.

Tomko lowered his ERA from 6.26 to 4.98.

The Angels didn’t get a runner past first base until Erick Aybar opened the ninth inning with a triple into the right-center gap against Ramirez, 0-1.

Vladimir Guerrero grounded to third with the infield in, and Alex Gordon held Aybar at third before throwing to first for the first out.

Manager Trey Hillman then summoned Gobble for a lefty-lefty matchup against Kotchman.

It didn’t work.

Kotchman whacked Gobble’s first offering into center field for an RBI single.

Peralta entered at that point and retired Torii Hunter, but Anderson yanked a 413-foot homer into the right-field bullpen for a 3-0 lead. Wood followed with a 381-foot shot to left.

Santana entered the game with a 2.48 ERA after throwing quality starts in all six of his previous outings. So this wasn’t the guy who was 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA in four previous career starts against the Royals.

He lowered his ERA to 2.02 by getting his second career complete game and second shutout. The other was 4-0 victory over the White Sox on May 23, 2005 at Angel Stadium.

Neither team got a runner past first until Mark Grudzielanek opened the fourth with a double into the left-field corner. He got no farther. Alex Gordon flied to center before José Guillen and Mark Teahen struck out.

Guillen’s strikeout was his second of the game and prompted loud boos from the crowd of 12,157. He made two more outs, including the final out of the game _ on a strikeout _ as his average dropped to .165.

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