Hunter will try to extend his hitting streak to 18 games and Pineiro looks to halt his second-half struggles Saturday night when the Angels host the Baltimore Orioles.
Hunter homered twice and drove in five Friday, helping the Angels to an 8-3 win in the opener of this weekend’s series. Peter Bourjos(notes) and Mike Trout(notes) also went deep as Los Angeles stayed six games behind West-leading Texas, which defeated the Chicago White Sox.
Hunter, who’s had three of his 16 career multihomer games this year, is batting .429 (27 for 63) during his 17-game hitting streak. His 17 homers are tied with Vernon Wells(notes) for second on the team behind rookie Mark Trumbo’s(notes) 23.
“I’m trying to have playoff at-bats. That’s the only way I know how to play,” Hunter said. “This is a push. In the last two months, I’m trying to push and get to the playoffs. Hopefully, the guys are trying to follow my lead, but I’m not trying to be a leader. I’m just trying to lead by example and play hard.”
Following a brief banishment to the bullpen due to ineffectiveness, Pineiro (5-6, 5.34 ERA) moves back into a starting role. He’s taking the spot of rookie Garrett Richards(notes), who was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained muscle near his groin.
Richards was called up from Double-A on Aug. 10 to replace Pineiro, who had been 0-3 with a 14.85 ERA in four starts following the All-Star break. That includes a 3-2 loss at Baltimore on July 23, when he was reached for three runs and 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Pineiro has continued to struggle out of the bullpen, yielding six runs and nine hits in eight innings over three appearances.
Pineiro is 0-4 with a 6.41 ERA in five starts against the Orioles since beating them July 8, 2003, with Seattle.
Acquired last month from Texas in a deal for reliever Koji Uehara(notes), Hunter helped the Orioles open their trip with a 6-2 win Monday at Oakland. He held the A’s to two runs despite surrendering 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings.
“The cutter saved me again,” said Hunter, who had been 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA through his first two starts with his new team. “It’s like you keep it in your back pocket until you need it.”
Hunter is 1-4 with an 8.87 ERA in six games - five starts - against the Angels, all while with the Rangers. The relief appearance came July 20, when he blew a save and took the loss in a 9-8 defeat after yielding two runs and three hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Torii Hunter is 3 for 13 with two homers in his career off Tommy Hunter.