ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Joel Pineiro worked in and out of trouble most of the time, managing to hold one of baseball's most intimidating lineups scoreless until Fernando Rodney put the finishing touches on the Angels' first shutout of the season.
Saxon: So Much More
More than a pitcher, the Angels' Joel Pineiro worked all sides of the plate -- and the infield, writes Mark Saxon. Story
Pineiro pitched into the eighth inning and Rodney pitched a perfect ninth against the team he did such a brilliant job closing for last season, leading Los Angeles to a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night."He's been doing well thus far," losing pitcher Dontrelle Willis said of Rodney, who converted 43 of 44 opportunities for the Tigers last year. "He's a talented guy. I mean, anybody who can throw a changeup at 80 and then run it up there at 97 definitely has talent and had a great feel. I'm really happy for him. I just hope he struggles against us, but he seems to be on fire right now."Kevin Jepsen relieved Pineiro (2-1) with two men on, then stranded both runners in scoring position by knocking down Carlos Guillen's comebacker and throwing him out. Rodney retired Brandon Inge on a groundout and Alex Avila on a flyball before getting Scott Sizemore on a checked swing to end it.Rodney, who signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Angels in December after turning down a one-year offer from the Tigers, has four saves in four chances since regular closer Brian Fuentes went on the disabled list with a back strain."When I signed with the team and they told me what my role was going to be, I said OK. I just want to keep doing my job," Rodney said. "Those guys over there know me and I know them, so it was exciting for me. But I'm the same guy no matter if I'm facing Detroit or any other team."Pineiro (2-1) scattered nine hits in 7 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked none for the second consecutive start."It was one of those nights where I was able to throw strikes early and spread the zone from there," Pineiro said. "The biggest thing for any pitcher is to get ahead of the hitters and make them hit your pitch."I kept the ball down with my sinker and I got the results," he added. "The sinker makes all of my off-speed pitches better because, when they're looking for the sinker, then you can use the curveball, changeup or slider. You've got to move the ball all around and in and out against those guys because they come prepared."The right-hander started two inning-ending double plays -- one on a line drive by Avila that trapped Inge off first base in the second, the other on a comebacker by Miguel Cabrera in the sixth."He works quick," Detroit's Johnny Damon said. "Normally, the game is still going on right now. But when you don't walk guys, it keeps your defense on their toes and ready. That's what he did. He worked quick, he established the strike zone early on, and therefore he was able to keep us guessing. He outguessed me a few times and he outguessed a few of the other guys."Willis (0-1) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings and struck out two. The two-time All-Star left-hander, whose 2009 season was interrupted twice by stints on the disabled list with anxiety disorder, has allowed eight runs in 17 innings over his first three starts in the final season of a three-year $29 million contract."I feel solid. I feel like I've put together some quality innings together," Willis said. "Being in the back of the rotation, I just want to go out there eat up innings, take the burden off our bullpen and take some of the pressure off the guys at the top of the rotation so that they don't feel like they have to go seven, eight, nine every time out."The Angels went ahead in the third when Detroit right fielder Magglio Ordonez chased Jeff Mathis' double down the line into foul territory and made a throw to second that caromed off Mathis' foot and away from shortstop Adam Everett. Howie Kendrick scored from first on the play.Mathis scored the second run when Everett fielded Bobby Abreu's grounder and threw to third for the tag on Brandon Wood, who had walked.
The only starting pitcher the Angels won't face in this four-game series is RHP Max Scherzer, who was on the mound when Gary Matthews Jr. pulled off a straight steal of home for the Halos against the Arizona Diamondbacks last June at Phoenix in an interleague game. ... Scioscia's career record as a big league manager is 907-727 -- 92 games better than Detroit's Jim Leyland through his first 1,634 games (815-819). Scioscia and Leyland both have won a World Series ring as managers, and both have been chosen manager of the year more than once. ... Monday was the 44th anniversary of the Angels' first regular-season game in Anaheim.