Joel Pineiro Pitches Slumping Angels Past Yankees 5-3

Joel Pineiro Pitches Slumping Angels Past Yankees 5-3 NEW YORK — Joel Pineiro‘s power
sinker cut right through the Yankees lineup.

That was a welcome sight for the Los
Angeles Angels, who looked much more like themselves as soon as they got
a top-notch pitching performance.

Pineiro tossed seven impressive
innings for his first win with his new team and the Angels showed signs
of shaking their early slump by beating New York 5-3 on Wednesday.

“We need more games like this,”
manager Mike Scioscia said. “If we had been playing like this for the
first week there’s no way we’re sitting with a 3-6 record.”

Bobby Abreu and Kendry Morales each
hit an RBI double off a rocky Javier Vazquez, and Los Angeles rebounded
after its worst eight-game start since 1972.

Much more reminiscent of the sound
team that’s won three straight AL West titles and five in six years, the
Angels were aggressive on the bases and made tough plays in the field.

Kevin Jepsen escaped an eighth-inning
jam and Fernando Rodney, filling in for injured closer Brian Fuentes,
got three quick outs for his first save.

“I guess that’s Angel baseball,”
Pineiro said. “Stealing bases, going first to third. Hopefully, this is a
good stride now.”

Maybe that closed-door meeting
Scioscia held after Tuesday’s loss did the trick.

“It was a good message. Seemed like
it worked,” Torii Hunter said. “We probably had a little more energy, a
little more fire today. You don’t know if it was the meeting we had
yesterday, but today I saw something different.”

One day after receiving their 2009
World Series rings in an emotional ceremony before their home opener,
the Yankees mustered little offense until late.

Mark Teixeira went hitless again and
Alex Rodriguez struck out all three times up against Pineiro (1-1), who
signed a $16 million, two-year contract with the Angels after going
15-12 with a 3.49 ERA for St. Louis last season.

The right-hander yielded five hits,
struck out seven and walked none. His sinking fastball caused fits for a
dangerous New York lineup that featured seven left-handed hitters.

“He pounded the zone in good spots.
He moved the ball around and expanded when he had to,” Scioscia said.
“Great effort from a guy that we have very high hopes for, so that’s
going to be important to us moving forward.”

It was Pineiro’s first win against
the Yankees since Aug. 18, 2002, with Seattle.

“He threw some great sinkers today.
He’s got that power in there, but he’s using it more for movement,” said
Nick Swisher, who hit an RBI triple for New York. “We never really did
much with him.”

The Yankees scored twice in the
eighth against Scot Shields on Nick Johnson‘s RBI single and Teixeira’s
run-scoring groundout. But Jepsen struck out Jorge Posada with runners
at the corners to end the inning.

Los Angeles did not give up a home
run for the first time this season. Through the first eight games of the
year, Angels starters ranked last in the AL with a 1-6 record and 5.91
ERA.

“Especially for myself, trying to get
that first one out of the way, it’s always nice,” Pineiro said. “But
yeah, we were scuffling a little bit so hopefully we just needed
somebody to go out there and give us a quality start.”

Vazquez (0-2) is off to a rough start
in his second stint with the Yankees — the first one ended
unceremoniously in Game 7 of the 2004 AL championship series against
Boston.

The right-hander has failed to finish
the sixth inning in either of his first two starts this season,
allowing 12 runs and 14 hits in 11 innings. He walked off to a low
rumble of boos Wednesday.

“Javy is an accomplished guy. He’ll
get going and he’ll get plenty of wins,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Javy
kept us in the game, we just didn’t score a lot of runs. But I think
his stuff was better today.”

The Angels chased Vazquez in the
sixth on ringing doubles by Hunter and Morales. With two outs, Maicer
Izturis
‘ run-scoring single made it 4-1.

Erick Aybar singled home a run in the
third and Abreu followed with an RBI double.

“I made a few mistakes today and they
cost me runs,” Vazquez said. “I thought I had good life on my
fastball.”

Hunter added an RBI single off
Alfredo Aceves in the seventh.

Notes
Fuentes, a four-time All-Star,
went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained back. The move is
retroactive to April 6. … After the game, the Angels sent OF Terry
Evans
outright to Triple-A Salt Lake to make roster room for LHP Scott
Kazmir
, scheduled to start Thursday night in his season debut. Kazmir
has been sidelined with a strained right hamstring. … The Angels stole
two bases, doubling their previous season total. … Teixeira is 3-for-31 (.097) this season.

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