Mazzaro struggles, but Royals get win over Angels

Vin Mazzaro, vying for a spot in Kansas City’s starting rotation, struggled in his third start of the spring but the Royals beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 in a split-squad game Thursday.

Mazzaro gave up six hits and three runs in 3 1 /3 innings. He walked two and struck out two, and got his pitch count up to 60.

That was an improvement on his previous start, when Mazzaro yielded four runs (three earned) and five hits over two innings Saturday against Oakland.

“I’m getting stretched out a little bit. I’m feeling stronger. Next start I hope I get five or six innings of a quality start and go from there,” he said.

Mazzaro went 6-8 with a 4.27 ERA for Oakland in 24 appearances last year, including 18 starts. He came to the Royals in the offseason trade that sent David DeJesus to the Athletics.

Angels starter Joel Pineiro went four innings in his third start, allowing four hits and one run with two strikeouts and no walks.

Pineiro, expected to be the Angels’ No. 4 starter, was 10-7 with a 3.84 ERA in 23 starts in 2010. He missed 43 games with a strained muscle on his left side before returning in mid-September.

“You know you made the team, (so) you know you’re not afraid to throw anything,” Pineiro said. “I work on the mental part of the game (at this point in the spring). Before, I used to not do that.”

Vernon Wells singled home Erick Aybar in the first inning. Kila Ka’ahihue doubled and scored on a grounder in the fourth to tie it for Kansas City.

The Angels went ahead in the fourth with a pair of runs, highlighted by Jeff Mathis’ RBI double. Kansas City scored a run on a throwing error in the seventh and went ahead 4-3 on Mike Moustakas’ two-run single off losing pitcher Loek Van Mil.

Jarrod Dyson, batting in the leadoff spot, had three of the Royals’ 10 hits. Moustakas added two.

Aybar and Alberto Callaspo each had two of the Angels’ 11 hits.

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