ANAHEIM, Calif. — Joe Blanton is due for some decent luck – and that elusive first victory in an Angels uniform.
The veteran right-hander took his lumps again Monday night, giving up a season-worst seven runs along with 12 hits in an 11-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
"I felt like I threw the ball good tonight and my stuff was good," Blanton said after his ERA shot up to 6.46. "When they made contact they found holes, broken-bat balls fell in for singles and balls bounced their way down the lines. It was one of those weird games. There were a couple of innings where I was one pitch away from it. But they got a couple of two-out hits that cost me three or four of those runs."
Blanton (0-7) threw 99 pitches through 4 2-3 innings, finishing with seven strikeouts and no walks. He struck out the side on 16 pitches in the second, his only 1-2-3 inning. Every other inning he pitched, the Royals scored.
It's the first time in the Angels' 53-year history that they have been on the losing end in all of a pitcher's first eight starts in a season. The last time one of their pitchers was winless in his first eight starts was 1997, when lefty Matt Perisho started eight times as a rookie and was 0-2. The Angels were 4-4 in those games.
The only time this season that Blanton has left a game with a lead was April 22 against Texas, when the bullpen blew a 6-3 advantage and he ended up with a six-inning no-decision.
"Joe had a rough outing, to say the least," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll turn the page on it, and hopefully he'll get where he needs to be in his next start. Tonight he just missed spots. And I think when you're missing spots, innings are going to continue. He had a couple opportunities to minimize the damage and couldn't get out of it. But give those guys credit. I mean, 19 hits. Those guys are swinging the bats well."
Billy Butler broke out of a severe slump with five hits and five RBIs, including a run-scoring double in the first inning and a two-run single in the third.
"He's a good hitter," said Blanton, who faced Butler for the first time in a regular-season game. "I threw him a little bit of everything. The first time I missed my spot and he hit the double. The second time I got ahead of him with runners at second and third and two outs and he worked it to a full count. I tried to get aggressive with him with a changeup, but he stayed on it and hit it back up the middle. If he tries to get big, he swings and misses or rolls it over. But he did a nice job."
The Angels got on the board in the third with an RBI single by Chris Iannetta, who had one hit in his previous 27 at-bats. But the Royals increased the margin to 4-1 in the fourth with Jarrod Dyson's two-out RBI double and tacked on three more in the fifth with an RBI single by Lorenzo Cain and a two-run double by No. 8 hitter Salvador Perez that chased Blanton.
"Probably the biggest one was that last double," Blanton said. "I threw a cutter and left it up in the zone. Other than that, I thought my pitches were pretty crisp and had a lot of movement down in the zone. I felt like I had located, for the most part."
Even the Angels' improving bullpen couldn't contain Butler, whose two-run double highlighted a three-run sixth against rookie Michael Roth and gave the Royals a 10-1 cushion. The hit increased his RBI total to 25 and snapped a string of scoreless innings by Angels relievers.
"Billy's one of the best hitters I've ever seen," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "I've seen a lot of really good hitters go into little slumps, and Billy's slumps are usually 0 for 9 or 0 for 10. But you also know that any day he's capable of breaking out and really carrying the team for a period of time. Billy's like a light switch. All of a sudden he can walk in, flip it, and there he goes."
Butler's hit total tied his career high. The designated hitter began the day in a 4-for-35 rut with a .228 average and one RBI in 23 at-bats over his previous six games.
"I knew I had been getting closer, but it's just one game," Butler said. "You've got to come out and do it consistently. Hopefully I'm on that upward streak now."
Luis Mendoza (1-2) allowed three runs and six hits over six innings, striking out six and walking none as the Royals began a nine-game road trip following a three-game sweep by the New York Yankees.
Mendoza was staked to a 10-1 lead and took a three-hitter into the sixth before giving up a pair of runs. Luke Hochevar pitched three innings for his first save in seven big league seasons.
NOTES: Angels RF Josh Hamilton was 2 for 3, including a ground double to the left side against the shift. He came out in the seventh inning because he was "a little lightheaded," Scioscia said. ... It was the third time this season that Blanton gave up 10 or more hits. ... The entire seven-game season series will take place this month, including a four-game set at Kansas City starting May 23.