KANSAS CITY, Mo.(AP) The
Los Angeles Angels
haven't missed a beat without
. Players once at the bottom of the order or buried on the bench have filled the gaps left by their injured teammates, keeping
the Angels atop the AL West.
No one has been better at it than
Aybar broke open a close game with a three-run triple and had seven hits in two games Tuesday, helping the
Los Angeles Angels
complete a doubleheader sweep with a 10-2 win over the hapless
Kansas City Royals
Aybar used his bat and legs to lift the Angels to an 8-5 win in the opener, with three hits, three runs and an RBI. He did
all the damage with his bat in the nightcap, as his bases-loaded triple off
started the Angels' seven-run seventh inning.
Aybar went 7-for-9 in the doubleheader and has eight RBIs the past four games.
''The ceiling everybody saw is there and it's great to see a young player get comfortable and show the talent he's shown in
the minor leagues,'' Angels manager
said. ''He's getting comfortable and hopefully we'll see that talent continue to progress.''
Aybar bounced between the majors and minors his first three seasons before getting a shot at being the Angels' fulltime shortstop
was traded. He's flourished in the role, using early work in the batting cages to hone his talent, lifting his average to
.315 this season - 53 points higher than his career average.
Aybar has been at his best with Guerrero and Hunter on the DL and
nursing a tight hamstring, hitting .490 this month, including 24-for-43 the past 11 games.
''The chance to play every day was there, even though it wasn't a guarantee, but I knew that coming out early, taking care
of what I needed to would give me a better chance at success,'' Aybar said through a translator.
The Angels had 25 combined hits, winning for the ninth time in 10 games.
had three doubles and drove in three runs in the second game, and
hit first homer since May 4, 2008, against Baltimore. Gary Matthews Jr. and
drove in two runs each in the opener and
had two hits to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 19 games.
Kansas City got a shaky start from
(1-6), a decent one from
(0-5) and another disastrous night from its bullpen to push its losing streak to eight games. The Royals blew three straight
leads in a sweep by Tampa Bay over the weekend, then let two close games get away against the Angels by allowing nine runs
in eight innings.
The Royals tied a team record by using nine pitchers in the doubleheader -
pitched twice - and have dropped a season-worst 19 games under .500 after their second eight-game losing streak of the season.
''It's not fun,'' Royals catcher
said. ''It's not from a lack of trying and not wanting to. That's why it hurts so much.''
(3-5) scuffled through six innings to get the win in the first game, allowing six runs and eight hits with seven strikeouts.
pitched the ninth for his majors-best 29th save in 32 chances.
Sean O'Sullivan (3-0) had some shaky moments in the second game, needing 49 pitches to get through the first two innings.
The rookie right-hander settled down after that, though, and finished with two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings. The Angels
are 5-0 in games he starts.
''The one resounding theme with Sean is that this guy just wins,'' Scioscia said. ''He's done it in the minor leagues and
he's doing it up here.''
Ponson allowed eight hits and six runs in the first game, including one a wild pitch in the third inning that hit the backstop
in the air and caromed all the way back to his glove.
Chen at least gave the Royals a chance, giving up three runs on seven hits in five innings.
Kansas City trailed 3-2 when Chen left, but the bullpen imploded in the seventh inning, facing 11 hitters as the Angels pushed
the lead to 10-2. The Royals bullpen has allowed 27 earned runs over its last 26 innings after posting a 2.78 ERA the previous
NOTES: The Angels' last doubleheader was Aug. 17, 2007, against Boston. ... Kansas City's
hit his ninth homer in the first game, a two-run shot. ... Abreu reached 20 stolen bases for the 11th straight season when
he swiped second in the eighth inning of the first game. ... The Angels have won 31 of their past 41 games against Kansas