Jason Vargas never had to worry about clearing his schedule for the All-Star Game. That might be about to change.
Vargas earned his 10th win, most in the majors, and Salvador Perez hit a three-run homer as the Kansas City Royals beat the Los Angeles Angels 7-3 on Sunday.
As the first pitcher to reach double digits in wins, Vargas finds himself ahead of perennial All-Stars such as Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale. Still, the Royals’ unassuming left-hander with the 2.27 ERA isn’t locking in travel arrangements to Miami next month just yet.
Although he ended up with another comfortable win, Vargas (10-3) found himself in trouble early and late. The Angels took a 2-0 lead in the first inning before the streaking Royals offense stepped in.
Mike Moustakas hit a three-run double in the third, giving him 19 RBIs this month and providing the Royals with a lead they did not relinquish.
Perez then launched a drive to center field for his 14th homer of the season, leaving Cameron Maybin to climb the wall for show as part of a four-run outburst in the fourth.
Vargas was able to avoid another slip-up before departing. Facing a bases-loaded jam with nobody out in the sixth, he was able to limit the damage to one run, bookending two popups around Ben Revere’s sacrifice fly.
Angels starter J.C. Ramirez did not have the same luck. Ramirez (6-5) was pulled after failing to get an out in the fourth, needing 89 pitches to make it that far. He started off well enough by striking out five consecutive batters, but then lost the strike zone. Ramirez walked four and hit a batter with a pitch as he gave up five earned runs.