|L.A. Angels (53-38) «||0||0||2||0||1||0||7||0||0||10||13||1|
|Kansas City (37-55)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||6||3|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Los Angeles Angels haven't missed a beat without Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter. 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 Erick Aybar.
Aybar broke open a close game with a three-run triple and had seven hits in two games Tuesday, helping the 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 Juan Cruz started the Angels' seven-run seventh inning.
Aybar went 7 for 9 in the doubleheader and has eight RBI 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 Mike Scioscia 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' full-time shortstop after Orlando Cabrera 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.
• Game 1: Angels 8, Royals 5
Aybar has been at his best with Guerrero and Hunter on the DL and Juan Rivera 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.
Bobby Abreu had three doubles and drove in three runs in the second game, and Robb Quinlan hit first homer since May 4, 2008, against Baltimore. Gary Matthews Jr. and Reggie Willits drove in two runs each in the opener and Kendry Morales had two hits to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 19 games.
Kansas City got a shaky start from Sidney Ponson (1-6), a decent one from Bruce Chen (0-5) and another disastrous night from its bullpen to push its losing streak to eight games. The Royals blew three consecutive 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 -- Jamey Wright 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 John Buck said. "It's not from a lack of trying and not wanting to. That's why it hurts so much."
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."
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 18 games.
|Mike Napoli gauges the heat of red-hot Erick Aybar, who ends the DH with seven hits, five runs and four RBI. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Chone Figgins, 3B||3||1||0||0||1||2||0||.303|
|Erick Aybar, SS||5||2||4||3||0||0||1||.315|
|Bobby Abreu, DH||4||1||3||3||1||0||1||.310|
|Mike Napoli, C||5||0||0||0||0||2||6||.287|
|Gary Matthews Jr., CF||4||1||0||0||1||1||2||.230|
|Howie Kendrick, 2B||5||1||2||2||0||1||0||.242|
|Brandon Wood, 1B||5||0||0||0||0||3||3||.174|
|Robb Quinlan, LF||5||2||2||1||0||1||2||.240|
|Reggie Willits, RF||5||2||2||0||0||1||2||.233|
|2B - Erick Aybar (14, Chen), Bobby Abreu 3 (20, Chen, Chen, Cruz), Howie Kendrick (10, Cruz)|
|3B - Erick Aybar (4, Cruz)|
|HR - Robb Quinlan (1, Chen)|
|SH - Chone Figgins (6)|
|RBI - Erick Aybar 3 (36), Bobby Abreu 3 (63), Howie Kendrick 2 (28), Robb Quinlan (7)|
|2-OUT RBI - Bobby Abreu 2 (18)|
|SB - Erick Aybar (8, 2nd base off Chen/Buck)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Aybar-Kendrick-Wood, Figgins-Kendrick-Wood|
|E - Mike Napoli (4, Interference)|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Sean O'Sullivan (W,3-0)||5.1||6||2||2||2||1||0||3.72|
|Justin Speier (H,7)||0.2||0||0||0||0||2||0||5.29|
|HBP - DeJesus (by Shane Loux)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Sean O'Sullivan 96-57, Justin Speier 12-7, Shane Loux 26-14, Matt Palmer 6-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sean O'Sullivan 6-8, Shane Loux 3-2, Matt Palmer 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Sean O'Sullivan 24, Justin Speier 2, Shane Loux 7, Matt Palmer 3|
|Kansas City Royals|
|David DeJesus, LF||2||0||1||0||1||0||1||.263|
|Willie Bloomquist, 2B||4||1||0||0||0||0||4||.271|
|Billy Butler, 1B||3||0||1||0||1||1||2||.294|
|Jose Guillen, RF||3||0||1||1||1||0||1||.245|
|Alberto Callaspo, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.298|
|Mike Jacobs, DH||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.222|
|John Buck, C||4||1||1||0||0||1||2||.211|
|Ryan Freel, CF||3||0||1||0||0||2||2||.172|
|Yuniesky Betancourt, SS||2||0||0||1||0||0||0||.244|
|2B - Billy Butler (29, O'Sullivan), John Buck (5, O'Sullivan)|
|SF - Yuniesky Betancourt (4)|
|SH - Yuniesky Betancourt (9)|
|RBI - Jose Guillen (40), Yuniesky Betancourt (23)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|E - Willie Bloomquist (7, Misplayed grounder), Billy Butler (5, Throwing), Bruce Chen (1, Throwing)|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Bruce Chen (L,0-5)||5||7||3||3||0||3||1||6.58|
|WP - Bruce Chen (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Bruce Chen 94-60, Robinson Tejeda 35-23, Juan Cruz 16-8, John Bale 14-9, Jamey Wright 24-13, Joakim Soria 16-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bruce Chen 5-7, John Bale 1-1, Joakim Soria 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Bruce Chen 22, Robinson Tejeda 6, Juan Cruz 5, John Bale 3, Jamey Wright 5, Joakim Soria 4|
|Attendance - 23874|
|Game Time - 3:24|
|Temperature - 71|
|Umpires - Home - James Hoye, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Todd Tichenor, Third Base - Delfin Colon|