ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Jered Weaver’s(notes) numbers are considerably better after his first 700 innings in the major leagues than his older brother Jeff’s were at that stage. Ability isn’t the only reason, and the Los Angeles Angels’ right-hander is the first to acknowledge that.
Weaver allowed one run over six innings and struck out seven in a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night. It’s the first time he has won his first three decisions since 2006, when he joined Livan Hernandez(notes) and Hall of Famer Whitey Ford as the only pitchers to go 9-0 in their first 12 big league starts.
“My brother showed me the way. I’ve learned a lot of my stuff from him,” Weaver said. “He’s had 11 years in this game. So to say that I’m further along than he is, I think I’ve got to get a ring and have about 10 years under my belt before I can start saying that.”
When Weaver struck out Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) in a 12-pitch at-bat leading off the third, he reached the 700-inning mark in his career—a span in which he compiled a 53-27 record with a 3.69 ERA and 577 strikeouts. By contrast, Jeff Weaver(notes) was 38-51 with a 4.38 ERA and 468 strikeouts in his first 700 innings.
“It’s a tough comparison because we’ve played for two different teams,” Jered said. “I started out on a winning team. He came up with a team that wasn’t winning (Detroit) and played three years where they were lucky to get to .500. He battled to stay in some of those games and things didn’t work out. But if he came up and played for a team like I’m playing for, it could be a completely different story.”
Erick Aybar(notes) hit his first leadoff homer and Bobby Abreu(notes) added a two-run shot for the three-time defending AL West champion Angels. Designated hitter Hideki Matsui(notes) singled in the fifth for his 1,000th hit in the majors, lining a 2-2 pitch to right field.
Matsui’s first big league hit was an RBI single against Roy Halladay(notes) in his first at-bat on March 31, 2003, with the New York Yankees at Toronto. Last year’s World Series MVP had 1,390 hits for the Yomiuri Giants during his 10-year career in Japan, where he was a three-time MVP of the Central League and a three-time home run and RBI champion.
“I don’t think it’s really big news in Japan, at least that’s my opinion,” a smiling Matsui said through a translator. “It’s my eighth year, and I’ve been able to play in most of those games. I guess you could say that it’s inevitable that you would get to that kind of mark if you played every day. I’m just thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to be able to play every game and reach that milestone. So in that sense, I’m happy.”
Kevin Jepsen(notes) took over for Weaver in the seventh and became the second Angels reliever on this homestand to walk the bases loaded—along with Scot Shields(notes). But the Angels got out of the inning unscathed, as Kevin Jepsen struck out cleanup hitter Travis Hafner(notes) and retired Russell Branyan(notes) on a groundout.
“It’s another situation where we had the guys on base. But they brought that guy in who has the good stuff,” Grady Sizemore(notes) said. “He was throwing hard with a hard breaking ball. That’s a tough at-bat, especially for a lot of these guys who haven’t seen him.”
Austin Kearns(notes) led off the Cleveland eighth against Brian Stokes(notes) with his first home run of the season and third hit of the game. But Fernando Rodney(notes) got the last two outs of the inning and Brian Fuentes(notes) pitched a hitless ninth for his third save.
The Indians were 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14 runners.
“We had our chances with the right guys up, but we’re not swinging the bats very well right now and we couldn’t get it done,” manager Manny Acta said.
David Huff(notes) (1-3) gave up five runs and 12 hits over 5 1-3 innings in his second start since beating Texas with a four-hitter on April 15. The former UCLA left-hander worked with runners in scoring position in each of the first five innings and allowed the leadoff man to reach base in five of the first six.
“They’re a good team. I have to just file that one away and learn from it,” Huff said.
NOTES: The Angels’ bullpen added six walks to its season total. They are the only team in the majors whose relievers have allowed more walks than the starting pitchers (45-32). … Hafner, who has more home runs and RBIs than any DH in Cleveland history, was hitless in three at-bats against Weaver with two strikeouts—and is 1 for 18 against him lifetime. … Angels 1B Kendry Morales(notes) was selected AL player of the week on Monday for the second time in his career.