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Pineiro, Aybar lead Angels to 10-2 exhibition victory over Royals

March 29, 2010 |  4:38 pm

Joel Pineiro threw no-hit ball over the first five innings, and leadoff batter Erick Aybar had four singles and two runs batted in Monday to lead the Angels to a 10-2 exhibition victory over the Kansas City Royals in Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Pineiro, who is aligned to start the fourth game of the regular season, did not allow a hit until Scott Podsednik's leadoff double in the sixth inning. Podsednik scored on Rick Ankiel's double to right-center field.

Pineiro went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run and two hits, struck out two and walked two. The sinker-ball specialist induced 13 ground-ball outs and threw 94 pitches.

"That was impressive," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He accomplished everything he wanted to accomplish. He pitched deep into the game, got up seven times, he had a good sinker going and got ground ball after ground ball. We played good defense behind him. That's the way J.P. can pitch. It's great to see."

Aybar, who missed a week because of forearm tightness in earlier this month, was struggling with an .083 average (2 for 24) last week, but in five games since Thursday the shortstop has 11 hits in 16 at-bats, a .688 tear that pushed his spring average to .325.

"When he first came back he had some timing issues," Scioscia said. "He was a little off his stride, but he's found it. He's found his rhythm at the plate. We're seeing some offensive continuity. It takes time. Some positive things are happening, and Erick is right in the middle of it."

Aybar had an infield single and scored during a four-run third inning that included Brandon Wood's RBI double, Bobby Abreu's RBI single and sacrifice flies by Hideki Matsui and Kendry Morales.

Aybar also had RBI singles in the fourth and sixth innings, Juan Rivera hit an RBI double in the fifth and Wood added an RBI triple in the sixth. The Angels had 15 hits in the game.

-- Mike DiGiovanna in Tempe, Ariz.

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