CLEVELAND (AP)—Jered Weaver might not be making any upcoming trips to Utah, Arkansas or Rancho Cucamonga.
After two impressive starts in the majors, Weaver may have left the minor leagues in his rearview mirror.
“I definitely want to stay up here,” he said.
Until the Indians pushed a run across in the seventh on consecutive hits, Weaver was on his way to trumping his dazzling debut of May 27, when he limited Baltimore to three hits in seven scoreless innings.
The right-hander may not be known as Jeff Weaver’s little brother much longer.
“He’s got the makeup,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s not afraid to challenge guys. He has shown that at Salt Lake and now here. His command is terrific for a guy with a complicated delivery, which is why we are every excited about what he can do for us.”
Weaver allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings, walked two and struck out eight. The Indians managed to get just one runner to second base before the seventh when Casey Blake singled and scored on Ben Broussard’s double.
Scioscia then replaced Weaver, who threw 99 pitches—two more than against the Orioles.
For six innings, the 23-year-old dominated the Indians, who came in as the second-highest scoring team in the majors and with the AL’s second-best batting average (.290). They had never seen the lanky Weaver other than on videotape, and he was even more impressive in person.
His unorthodox delivery—he briefly turns his back to the plate, making it tough to pick up the ball—baffled the Indians. Beyond that, Weaver’s fastball was consistently in the low 90s and he occasionally mixed in a slider and changeup.
“For a young kid, he’s pretty poised,” Indians outfielder Jason Michaels said. “This is his only second year in pro ball, but he has a lot of poise out there. He knows how to pitch and uses his stuff.”
Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer off Cleveland starter Jason Johnson (3-5) in the first, Dallas McPherson connected for another one off Guillermo Mota in the sixth and Garret Anderson hit a three-run shot off the Indians’ ineffective reliever in the seventh.
The Angels had a season-high six steals, running at will against Johnson and backup catcher Tim Laker.
Michaels homered for the Indians, who are 6-16 against the Angels at home since 2001.
Angels center fielder Chone Figgins helped keep the Indians off the scoreboard with a sensational catch in the fourth that turned into a double play.
Travis Hafner walked and Blake hit a hard liner to center that initially looked like it might clear the wall. But Figgins sprinted back and made a lunging catch on the warning track before crashing into the padding.
Hafner never stopped running on the play, and was standing on third when Figgins threw back to the infield to double him up.
“That play was unbelievable,” Weaver said.
Weaver’s strong start could make things interesting when the Angels get back Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon, who is out with a shoulder injury. Scioscia may have to chose one of the Weavers to stay in his rotation.
“We’ll see how things pan out,” Scioscia said. “We have time.”
Guerrero gave the Angels a 2-0 lead in the first with his 14th homer.
Orlando Cabrera reached on a fielder’s choice before Guerrero ripped a 2-2 pitch over the 19-foot-high wall in left and hitting directly under a fan’s handwritten sign that said: “Beware Of The Vlad.”
Johnson’s wildness got him into trouble in the second. He issued two one-out walks and Adam Kennedy—the Angels’ No. 9 hitter—made him pay with an RBI single. Figgins followed with a sacrifice fly that made it 4-0.
Johnson has just one win in his last eight starts, and the right-hander was edgy with reporters afterward.
“It’s you guys who are putting me under the microscope,” he said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with me. If that’s what you guys want to do, that’s fine. I don’t care what anybody else thinks.”
Anderson’s homer was his first in 123 at-bats. … Including his last three starts at Triple-A, Weaver had pitched 40 consecutive scoreless innings before giving up Broussard’s double. … Michaels has a career-high 11-game hitting streak. … … The Weavers are the 17th set of brothers to be on the same major league pitching staff. … Mota, a major disappointment in his first season with Cleveland, has allowed eight homers in 23 2-3 innings.