Weaver gives Angels a solid start

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- If the Los Angeles Angels are going to overcome their 11-game deficit in the American League West, pitcher Jered Weaver is a good starting point.
Weaver gave up four hits in 6 2/3 innings, leading the Angels to a 4-1 victory over the first-place Oakland A's on Friday night at Angel Stadium.
Weaver, who had surpassed 100 pitches in the sixth inning, screamed for "one more" as he walked off the mound. He quickly retired the first two batters he faced in the seventh, only to be driven out by Coco Crisp's infield single.
"I looked up there (at the scoreboard) at the fourth or fifth inning and the pitch count was up there," Weaver said. "It didn't feel like it, but I had a lot of 3-2 counts. I wanted to try to get through seven and extend a little bit. I still felt good, so (manager Mike) Scioscia let me go back out there."
There wasn't much of a discussion as to whether Weaver should start the seventh.
"I think he felt good coming out to start the seventh," Scioscia said. "There's no doubt his stuff was there and maintaining it through a higher pitch count shows he's starting to get some of his stamina back."
The A's struggled to mount any kind of an attack against Weaver and could only get a runner to second base on two occasions. Eric Sogard had a one out double in the third but was forced out at third base to end the inning.
Crisp singled and stole second base in the fifth but was stranded when John Jaso, who had walked, was picked off at first base by catcher Chris Iannetta for the third out.
Weaver struck out a season high eight batters.
He was just unpredictable," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He'll throw anything in any count. And when he gets you to two strikes, that's when he'll throw his fastball the most and try to elevate and get you to chase. He had a good slider and he had a good curveball that he could drop in there when he was behind in the count.
"We looked like we've been off for a few days, and that's no excuse because the other team was going through the same thing we are. But we looked a little out of sync today. It's not for a lack of preparation."
The A's were without outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who was scratched from the starting lineup with a sore left wrist. They scored their run in the ninth when Brandon Moss singled, took second on an error by Josh Hamilton and scored on a double by Chris Young.
Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar and Mike Trout hit home runs off of A's starter A.J. Griffin to help stake the Angels to a 4-0 lead after five innings.
"I gave up three home runs, but I felt like I was executing my pitches pretty well for the most part," Griffin said. "Aybar hit one that was way inside, like three inches away from him, and he just went down and got it and dropped the bat head on it and kept it fair.
"The one that Trout hit, I tried to go with the changeup again after I struck him out on it the previous at-bat. Usually, I wouldn't throw a changeup in that situation, but my changeup was pretty good today. I just didn't get it down enough.
"Then the one by Pujols, it was just one slider too many in a row in that sequence. He looked pretty uncomfortable on the first couple of sliders. But I left the last one up a little bit. I should have gone with something else, maybe a fastball in or something. But he's been around awhile, and it wasn't his first home run."
Hamilton got the Angels on the board in the first inning with a sinking line drive to right field that turned into a double. Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick tried to make a diving catch but misjudged it. The ball skidded past him, allowing J.B. Shuck to score from second base.
Pujols extended the lead to 2-0 with a home run in the third, and Aybar and Trout hit their home runs in the fifth.
NOTES: Angels RHP Tommy Hanson, on the disabled list with a strained right forearm, pitched 3 1/3 innings in a rehab assignment on Thursday. He is now a candidate to start Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Twins. ... Pujols has a career batting average of .334 after the All-Star break before this season. ... A's RHP Jarrod Parker threw a bullpen session on Friday and didn't seem to be hampered by his sore right hamstring, Melvin said.

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