Angels ride Joel Pineiro's arm to 4-0 victory and sweep of Oakland
Joel Pineiro threw his sixth career shutout Sunday, limiting the Oakland Athletics to four hits while striking out five during his 98-pitch gem to lead the Angels to a 4-0 victory and a three-game sweep of the A's in Angel Stadium.
The Angels' second four-hit shutout of the series -- Joe Saunders accomplished the feat Friday night -- moved the Angels to within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Texas Rangers in the American League West.
Hideki Matsui singled home Torii Hunter, who had doubled, in the second inning for the Angels, and Bobby Abreu followed Howie Kendrick's sixth-inning single with a two-out, two-run home run off Oakland starter Trevor Cahill to give the Angels a 3-0 lead. Mike Napoli doubled in the eighth and scored on Kendrick's two-out RBI single to make it 4-0.
Pineiro had an extremely rocky two-start stretch in late April in which he was rocked for 15 earned runs and 21 hits in 9 1/3 innings of losses to the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers.
But in three starts since then, Pineiro has allowed two earned runs and 17 hits in 21 1/3 innings of a loss to the Boston Red Sox, a no-decision against the Tampa Bay Rays and Sunday's win over the A's.
The Angels backed Pineiro with three superb defensive plays. Left fielder Michael Ryan made a sliding catch in foul territory of Ryan Sweeney's first-inning fly ball, shortstop Erick Aybar made a diving, back-hand stop of Kevin Kouzmanoff's one-hop smash and threw to first for the out in the second inning, and Kendrick, the Angels' second baseman, fielded Eric Chavez's fifth-inning grounder up the middle and made an off-balance throw to first for the out.
Photo: Angels starting pitcher Joel Pineiro works against Oakland on Sunday at Angel Stadium. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press