Angels 4, Blue Jays 3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—At this point in his outstanding rookie season, few things faze Jered Weaver. He’s not intimidated by matching up against a Cy Young Award winner, nor facing a World Series MVP with the bases loaded.
Weaver struck out Troy Glaus with three runners on to help preserve his 11th victory, and the Los Angeles Angels took advantage of a first-inning injury to Toronto ace Roy Halladay in a 4-3 victory Sunday over the Blue Jays.
“I would have been more than happy to go up against a Cy Young winner,” Weaver said. “I was kind of disappointed when that happened, but obviously it was good for us to get to their bullpen early.”
Weaver (11-2) threw a career-high 113 pitches over 5 2-3 innings in his first start against Toronto. He allowed three runs and five hits, including Adam Lind’s first major league homer. It was the 14th time in 16 starts that the right-hander allowed no more than three runs.
Weaver walked three and struck out eight, including Glaus on a called third strike to escape a fifth-inning jam. Glaus argued the call on the 1-2 pitch with plate umpire Mark Wegner and was ejected—leaving the 2002 World Series MVP 4-for-20 with four RBIs this season against his former team.
“I came up with a big pitch with the bases loaded,” Weaver said. “Obviously, with a guy like that at the plate, you’re trying to locate and make a perfect pitch—and it ended up being one. So I was more than happy to get out of that.”
Another critical moment came in the Toronto eighth, when Scot Shields threw a slider to Russ Adams and got him to hit an inning-ending double-play grounder to second baseman Adam Kennedy with runners at the corners. Adams grounded into only four double plays in his previous 218 at-bats this season.
“I was lucky he hit it hard enough, because he can run a little bit,” Shields said. “That ball scooted across and stayed down, but Adam did a good job of staying down on it and giving us a chance to get to Frankie.”
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning for his major league-leading 41st save, keeping the Angels 5 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Oakland. The 24-year-old right-hander became the youngest pitcher in major league history with 100 career saves, breaking the previous mark held by Gregg Olson.
“I’ve been thinking about that for a while since I heard about it,” said Rodriguez, who extended his scoreless streak to 28 1-3 innings. “I feel excited and really happy. It’s a big step in my career. I have to thank Shields and the rest of the guys in the bullpen because I couldn’t have done it so quick without them.”
Halladay made only 16 pitches, departing with two outs and runners at first and third after Garret Anderson lined a single off his pitching elbow. X-rays showed no structural damage, just a bruise and some residual swelling.
“The hurdle in the next couple of days will be to get the swelling out of there and hopefully get right back out there,” Halladay said. “I’m optimistic. We’re fortunate to have some pretty good trainers, so I’ll just turn it over to them. I don’t see it being a huge deal.”
Halladay missed the second half of last season after a line drive off the bat of Texas’ Kevin Mench broke a bone in his left leg and prevented him from starting in the All-Star game. At the time of the injury, Halladay was leading the AL with a 2.41 ERA.
“It wasn’t super painful to move it when they were taking the tests, so I was confident that it wasn’t going to be anything like that,” Halladay said. “As a pitcher, you know balls are going to come back at you, so you try and do the best you can to defend yourself. Unfortunately, the last two times it got me in two pretty good spots. I’m due for one in the middle of the back next time.”
The 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star was replaced by Josh Towers, who made his first appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday.
Towers (1-10) was charged with four runs—two earned—and five hits over 1 2-3 innings in his first relief outing since Aug. 30, 2003, when he worked 2 2-3 innings for his only save in the big leagues. The right-hander had a 9.11 ERA in 12 starts this season before getting sent to the minors for the second time on June 27.
The Angels grabbed a 4-2 lead during a three-run third, capitalizing on a throwing error by shortstop John McDonald on a potential double-play grounder by Juan Rivera. Howie Kendrick’s sacrifice fly put the Angels ahead for good, and Chone Figgins drove in their fourth run with a single against Scott Downs.
Lind gave Toronto a 2-0 lead in the second with his two-run homer. The Angels got one run back in the bottom half on Mike Napoli’s 15th homer.
The Angels surpassed the 3 million mark in home attendance for the fourth straight year. … Weaver is three victories shy of the Angels record for wins by a rookie starter—which is shared by Dean Chance (1962), Marcelino Lopez (1965) and Frank Tanana (1974). … Rodriguez is the third pitcher in Angels history with 100 or more saves, joining Troy Percival (316) and Bryan Harvey (126).