Stassi, Angels make Royal pain of Kowar's major league debut

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·3 min read
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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Max Stassi homered and drove in three runs, and the Angels turned Jackson Kowar's major league debut into a nightmare as Los Angeles defeated the Kansas City Royals 8-3 on Monday night.

Stassi had an RBI single off Kowar during a four-run first inning and hit a two-run shot to right-center in the fifth. The Angels catcher, who finished with three hits, has a .318 batting average in 16 games this season. He is 7 for 15 with two home runs and five RBIs since returning last Tuesday from a stint on the injured list due to a concussion.

It was only the fourth time in Stassi's nine-year career that he had three or more hits in a game.

Dylan Bundy (1-6) snapped a 10-game winless streak. He allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out two.

Kowar, the 33rd overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft, was 5-0 with an 0.85 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings at Triple-A Omaha. But the touted prospect faced only seven batters in his big league debut before being lifted after two-thirds of an inning.

The 24-year-old right-hander allowed four runs on three hits and two walks. It was the 14th time since 1980, according to Sportradar, that a rookie starting pitcher permitted four or more runs and did not make it out of the first inning in his debut.

Kowar also threw three wild pitches in the first inning, marking the first time since 2003 any pitcher had done that in the opening frame.

Hunter Dozier, who came into the game batting .146, went 3 for 4 with two doubles.

Kowar got Justin Upton to ground out on his second pitch before things went south as the next four batters reached base.

Shohei Ohtani walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch before scoring on Anthony Rendon's single. Jared Walsh also walked before both runners moved up on another wild pitch. Stassi's RBI single gave the Angels a 2-0 lead.

Stassi went to second on a wild pitch before José Iglesias made the second out with a grounder. Kowar's night ended, though, after Juan Lagares' single drove in Stassi.

The Royals got to 4-2 in the second on Jorge Soler's solo homer to left-center and Dozier's RBI double.

David Fletcher's run-scoring single extended Los Angeles' lead to 5-2 in the fifth before Stassi's homer an inning later.

Whit Merrifield's RBI single drew Kansas City to 7-3 in the seventh. Stassi led off the Angels eighth with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Greg Holland committed a balk.

NICE PLAY

Los Angeles' Kean Wong, making his first start in right field, jumped at the wall to rob Carlos Santana of a home run in the first inning.

SCARY MOMENT

Soler was beaned by James Hoyt leading off the ninth but remained in the game. Hoyt was making his Angels debut after he was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: LHP José Quintana (left shoulder inflammation) threw well during his bullpen session before the game and could be activated by the end of the week. ... RHP Hunter Strickland was designated for assignment after compiling a 9.95 ERA in nine appearances. Strickland was acquired from Tampa Bay on May 15.

UP NEXT

Kansas City LHP Kris Bubic (1-0, 2.12 ERA) allowed a season-high four runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings last Thursday against Minnesota. He will be opposed Tuesday by Los Angeles LHP Andrew Heaney (3-3, 4.76), who is looking to earn three straight wins for the first time since 2015.

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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press