ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Jered Weaver looked nothing like a pitcher who had a 7.02 ERA over his previous six starts.
Weaver allowed one hit over seven innings, combining with two relievers on a three-hitter, and Mike Napoli hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
“I just went out there and tried to pitch like the old Jered, and it came out all right,” Weaver said. “It was just adjustments with mechanics in the bullpen between starts. Me and (pitching coach Mike) Butcher were able to clean some stuff up.
“The arm strength’s coming along,” he added. “The more innings I get, the better my arm strength is going to get. That’s the way it’s always been. I always seem to get stronger as the season went along. I guess the six days rest kind of helped, too.”
Manager Mike Scioscia couldn’t have been more pleased with the right-hander’s dramatic turnaround.
“That’s the best stuff Jered’s had in two years,” Scioscia said. “He maintained it and he finished strong. His pitch count got a little high, but the last couple of innings he regrouped and finished hitters off better. You can’t throw the ball much better than Weave did tonight. It’s very encouraging.”
A.J. Pierzynski’s leadoff single in the fifth was the only hit off Weaver, who pitched seven innings. He struck out six and walked one, coming out of the game after 109 pitches. He came in 1-4 since pitching seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball in a 2-1 win over Texas on April 5.
“He just missed our bats,” Jermaine Dye said. “I mean, he threw a lot of breaking pitches, a lot of changeups in hitter’s counts, and was able to get ground balls and flyballs.”
Chicago starter John Danks had a hard-luck no-decision, although he had to work hard for it. Pitching against the Angels for the first time in his career, he scattered seven hits and two walks over 6 1-3 innings, struck out five and never retired the side in order.
Danks departed with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh after walking Gary Matthews Jr. with his 99th and final pitch. Octavio Dotel struck out Erick Aybar and Vladimir Guerrero to escape the jam.
But Dotel (1-2) gave up a leadoff single in the eighth to Torii Hunter, who took third when Garret Anderson got the green light on a 3-0 pitch from Matt Thornton and singled to right field. Napoli’s delivered Hunter with a flyout to center, with Anderson alertly tagging up, and Robb Quinlan drove in the second run with a two-out single against Scott Linebrink.
The Angels stranded a runner in scoring position in four of the first five innings. Hunter grounded out with a man on third base to end the first, Guerrero hit into a double play to end the third, Casey Kotchman flied out to end the fourth, and Aybar grounded out to end the fifth.
“We left way too many runners in scoring position,” Scioscia said. “We stranded a lot of guys and were 1-for-12 with guys in scoring position. So it was a night we needed to pitch well, and we did. We scratched out a couple of runs late and held on.”
Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen flip-flopped Paul Konerko and Dye in his lineup, dropping the slumping Konerko to fifth and putting Dye in the cleanup spot for the fourth time this season following his four-hit performance on Monday night. But they didn’t get a runner past first base until Carlos Quentin doubled off the center fence with one out in the ninth.
“We haven’t been scoring too many runs lately, but our pitchers have been going out there and giving us a chance,” Dye said. “We just have to try and bear down a little bit more and get some runs across for them early.”
After the game, the Angels optioned INF Kendry Morales to Triple-A Salt Lake to clear a roster spot for RHP John Lackey—who will make his season debut Wednesday night after missing 41 games with a strained triceps. … Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk is returning to the White Sox as a team ambassador, the club announced Tuesday. Fisk and Guillen were teammates for nine years in Chicago, winning a division title in their last season together (1993). “I think it’s great. It’s about time,” Guillen said. “To us, it’s an honor. Pudge is a legend. I think he’s meant a lot more to the Chicago White Sox than to the Boston Red Sox because of the many years he played for us and the fact that he finished up his career here. I asked Pudge a lot of times to come to spring training with us, but he was busy with a lot of different things.” … The White Sox, who lead the AL with 45 home runs, are 0-10 when they don’t hit one.