Angels complete doubleheader sweep of Royals

Erick 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, finishing a homer short of the cycle after a bases-loaded triple off Juan Cruz started the Angels‘ seven-run seventh inning.

Aybar was 7-for-9 in the two games, raising his average this month to .490.

The AL West-leading 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 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.

Ervin Santana (3-5) scuffled through six innings to get the win in the first game, allowing six runs and eight hits with seven strikeouts. Brian Fuentes 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. He settled down after that, though, and finished with two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings.

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 18 games.


The Angels‘ last doubleheader was Aug. 17, 2007, against Boston. … Kansas City’s Billy Butler 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 City.