Weaver leads Angels past White Sox 2-1, while Thome goes 0-for-3

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CHICAGO (AP)—Jered Weaver wanted no part of baseball history, so he was determined to keep Jim Thome stuck on 499 homers.

“I just didn’t want to give up number 500. That was definitely in the back of my mind,” Weaver said Saturday night after pitching the Los Angeles Angels past the Chicago White Sox 2-1. “While you’re out there facing him, you don’t really think about it, you know. But after he gets out, you’re kind of, ‘Thank God.”’

Weaver made sure he had a plan while pitching to the White Sox designated hitter who hit No. 499 on Wednesday and was bidding to become the 23rd major leaguer in history—and third this season—to reach 500.

“I was watching the game yesterday, and we came in a lot to him. … I wanted to stay away from him,” Weaver said. “For the most part, he looked like he was waiting for that inside pitch. I kind of threw him opposite balls.”

Weaver (12-7) allowed one run and four hits, striking out eight over six innings to surpass the win total of his rookie season a year ago. He outpitched Chicago starter Jon Garland and dropped the Angels’ magic number for winning the AL West to eight.

Thome was 0-for-3. He walked in the first, struck out in the third and popped out in the sixth against Weaver, each time with flash bulbs popping all over. Facing Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth, he took a called third strike.

Since hitting No. 499, he’s gone 10 plate appearances without a homer— 2-for-9 with two singles, a walk and three strikeouts.

“That’s what makes it so tough to do,” Thome said. “It’s not easy to go out and hit a home run when everybody wants you to. It will happen. It will happen eventually. You just got to let it happen and ultimately try to win the game.”

Thome, who said he didn’t notice all the flashbulbs, had a contingent of 20 to 25 family and friends sitting behind the plate. If he doesn’t connect Sunday, then his next shot will be in Kansas City on Monday. He’d prefer of course to do it in Chicago.

“Hopefully, we can do it here for them. They’ve been so great,” he said. “Anytime you’re at home and you have something like this going on, it sure would be nice to do it at home.”

Chicago third baseman Andy Gonzalez’s two-base throwing error on Howie Kendrick’s grounder and Reggie Willits’ RBI single put the Angels up 2-1 in the fourth, and their pitching made it stick. Darren Oliver, Scot Shields and Rodriguez completed the victory, allowing two hits combined.

Rodriguez struck out A.J. Pierzynski with a runner on second for his 35th save in 41 chances.

Garland (9-12) allowed nine hits and two runs—one earned—in seven innings and is 1-5 in his last nine starts. He gave up seven hits in the first three innings but only one run, thanks to some good defense.

After Chone Figgins and Orlando Cabrera singled to start the game, Garland started a 1-4-3 double play and second baseman Danny Richar threw Garret Anderson out from short right on a grounder. With two on in the second, Chicago left fielder Scott Podsednik threw Casey Kotchman out at the plate as he tried to score from second on Willits’ single.

Figgins, Cabrera and Vladimir Guerrero singled in succession in the third to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. But after Garland fanned the next two batters, Jermaine Dye made a diving catch of Maicer Izturis’ sinking liner to end the inning.

Chicago tied it on a double by Richar and an RBI single by Jerry Owens in the third.

Notes

Weaver is 4-1 in his last five starts and threw a season-high 114 pitches. … Angels OF Gary Matthews Jr. missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right ankle. … Thome has 21 career homers against the Angels. He will face lefty Joe Saunders on Sunday. … The crowed on a 61-degree night was announced at 36,485. … Owens reached on a disputed bunt single with one out in the eighth when first base umpire Mike Reilly ruled that first baseman Kotchman missed the tag, although a replay appeared to show his glove hit Owens on the backside. Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued to no avail, but seconds later Los Angeles C Jeff Mathis threw to first to pick off Owens. … All nine of the Angels’ hits were singles.

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