ANAHEIM -- It wasn't a save situation, but big Jonathan Broxton got his first chance as a ninth-inning replacement for Royals closer Joakim Soria on Saturday.
Chris Getz had just doubled, stole third and scored on a throwing error to give the Royals a 6-2 lead over the Angels. Greg Holland zipped through a scoreless eighth and on came Broxton.
Kendrys Morales said hello with his fourth hit of the game, a double, and Torii Hunter bunted safely. But after Bobby Abreu's sacrifice fly, Broxton ended the Royals' 6-3 win by getting Vernon Wells to ground sharply into a double play.
Broxton gained All-Star fame as a closer for the Dodgers, and while he wasn't exactly back in Los Angeles, he was in the neighborhood. Did it feel like old times?
"It was close," Broxton said. "I got out of it with no pain, so that's the important thing."
This was Broxton's first appearance for the Royals and first in the Majors since last May 3. Bone spurs in his pitching elbow finally led to surgery in September so this was a crucial test for him.
Manager Ned Yost is giving him the first crack at replacing Soria, who had Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, although he's made it clear it's not to be considered etched in stone. Holland or Aaron Crow could be in the closer picture as well if Broxton falters. But Yost thinks he can do the job.
"He's thrown good all spring, he hasn't given me any reason to believe he can't," Yost said.
Yost stands by decision to pull Chen in opener
ANAHEIM -- Hard-throwing Angels starter Jered Weaver lasted eight shutout innings and softer-throwing Bruce Chen went just six shutout innings and 75 pitches before Royals manager Ned Yost took him out of Friday night's opener.
Why pull Chen at that point when he was so effective?
"He was rolling," Yost agreed but added: "Third time around with [Howie] Kendrick, [Albert] Pujols, [Torii] Hunter. It's not just you look at 75 pitches and you quit, right? You go by the game and we had a lot of factors that went into that game.
"One, I had a fully stocked bullpen. Two, it was a 0-0 game. If we had one run or two runs to work with, I would've sent Bruce back out. But we didn't. We were one swing away from danger, with the meat of that order [coming up for the third time]. So it was a tough decision -- to send Bruce back out there or do you just go with your fully stocked bullpen with power arms that match up best against these guys in the seventh inning, hoping that you were going to score a run somewhere?"
Yost opted for the latter and it paid off in the seventh when Aaron Crow blew third strikes past Kendrick, Pujols and Hunter. When the Royals didn't score against Weaver in the eighth, he stayed with Crow because who knew how long the 0-0 tie would last? He didn't want to expend his other two late-inning pitchers, Greg Holland and and Jonathan Broxton too soon in case of extra innings.
As it turned out, Crow got one out in the eighth and the roof caved in. Angels poured across five runs against Crow and Holland to win, 5-0.
Weaver, who gave up just four hits, and Scott Downs, who pitched a perfect ninth, dealt the Royals just the second Opening Day shutout in their 44-year history. The first came 36 years ago, on April 9, 1976, at Chicago's old Comiskey Park when the White Sox's Wilbur Wood beat the Royals and Paul Splittorff, 4-0. That Royals team went on to win 90 games and capture the American League West title.
Royals plot platoon for catchers Pena, Quintero
ANAHEIM -- With Salvador Perez out with knee surgery, Royals manager Ned Yost has settled on a rotation for his two catchers, Brayan Pena and Humberto Quintero.
Pena will be paired with No. 1 starter Bruce Chen and No. 4 starter Luis Mendoza. Quintero will catch Nos. 2 and 3, Luke Hochevar and Jonathan Sanchez, and No. 5, Danny Duffy. At least for now.
"I don't want anybody catching more than two days in a row," Yost said. "You try to keep them balanced, you try to keep them both in there. I like Quintero with guys like Hoch, Sanchez and Duffy because he's more of a veteran presence with those guys. I like Pena with Bruce because he's got a really good idea what he wants to do and so does Mendoza."
Pena and Quintero have been backup catchers throughout their careers. The most games Quintero started behind the plate in a season was 74 in 2010 for the Astros and the most starts for Pena was 54 last year for the Royals.
After strong spring, Cain shakes off rough start
ANAHEIM -- Center fielder Lorenzo Cain, a hitting star for the Royals throughout Spring Training, experienced a rugged Opening Day experience on Friday night. He went 0-for-4 and Angels winner Jered Weaver struck him out three times.
"He was lights-out last night, but it was just one day," Cain said. "We're going to bounce back and we've got a lot of games to play this season."
Cain also ranged far into right-center field to catch a long drive by the Kendrys Morales.
"It was a tweener, so it was kind of tough to judge because I thought it might hit off the wall, but I got a chance to get there and caught it off the top of the wall," Cain said. "It was a tough play but I was able to make it."
Bruce Chen's six shutout innings on Friday night extended his run of good fortune at Angel Stadium. In four games, he has a 1.33 ERA for 20 1/3 innings and won his only decision -- on July 3, 2010, when he had a perfect game going for six innings before winning, 4-2.
Saturday's game was the 1,000th of right fielder Jeff Francoeur's career.
Collecting eggs might be fun, but the Royals' hunt for victories on Easter has not always been easy. Going into Sunday's game, they're 10-13 in Easter games.
With Friday night's loss, the Royals are 15-29 in season openers, including a 5-16 mark on the road.
Quotable: Royals manager Ned Yost on the hype and hoopla that comes with Opening Day: "It's gloom and doom if you lose and you're going to the World Series if you win."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.