video thumbnail

Must C Clips: Weaver goes the distance in victory

ANAHEIM -- The more games Jered Weaver starts in 2011, the more history he continues to make.

Behind a seven-hit shutout from Weaver, who is the first pitcher to be 6-0 by April 25, the Angels beat the Oakland A's, 5-0, on Monday at Angel Stadium in front of 37,115.

Weaver is the fourth player in Major League history to go 6-0 in March and April, the last being Brandon Webb with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008. It is the fifth time it has been accomplished overall, with Randy Johnson turning the trick twice.

Weaver struck out 10 and walked only one. The righty now leads the Majors in wins (six), strikeouts (49) and ERA (0.99).

Weaver began his Major League career in 2006 by going 9-0 in his first 12 starts after he was promoted from the Minors two months into the season. Weaver is the 15th pitcher in the last 50 years to win at least six starts through his team's first 23 games. Randy Johnson (2002 with the D-backs) was the last pitcher to accomplish that feat. Since 2002, Weaver is the only pitcher to start a season 6-0 twice.

"It is great to have the accolades, but I just want to keep my team in the game, which I did tonight," Weaver said. "The location is a lot better than it has been and everything feels good."

Weaver had recorded just one win in his last 11 starts against the A's before Monday night, and was winless in four starts against the A's last season.

Monday also marked the right-hander's second consecutive complete game, and the sixth of his career. The last Angels pitcher to throw a complete game in consecutive starts was John Lackey in July 2006.

"Tonight was an extension of his evolution and of him making a statement that he is a No. 1 [starter]," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Weaver was able to pound the zone. He just kept driving home strikes all night."

Throwing first-pitch strikes to the first 15 batters he faced, Weaver was able to command his fastball and throw his breaking ball for strikes.

"He's tough. First of all, he's got deception. He's real tall and he throws kind of across his body. The thing with him is he can throw everything for a strike and he mixes his pitches really well," A's catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "It always seems like he throws something other than what you are looking for and that's a credit to him. He can throw everything for strikes, so you can't sit on one pitch and that's what makes him so good.

"There's a reason why he's got an ERA like that. He's tough and did a good job of keeping us off balance."

Scioscia said he feels that the biggest difference for Weaver this season has been the early inning run support the team has given him, as was the case Monday.

Unlike the Angels' previous series against the Boston Red Sox, in which they scored a total of five runs in four games, the Halos got on the board early against the A's. Howard Kendrick hit a two-run single to right field in the second inning that plated Vernon Wells and Alberto Callaspo.

"Runs at any time are important, but getting them early really sets the tone for our starting pitching," Scioscia said. "Our bats were much more focused all game. Gio Gonzalez is one of the best pitchers in our league, so hopefully we can carry it over into the next game."

The Angels weren't done. In the third inning, Bobby Abreu belted an RBI double to left field, scoring Peter Bourjos to give the Angels a 3-0 lead.

Going 2-for-4 in the game, Bourjos now has an eight game-hitting streak, during which he is batting .438.

In the fourth, the Angels delivered three straight singles, including an RBI hit from Mark Trumbo. Jeff Mathis grounded into a double play, scoring Erick Aybar to give the Angels a commanding 5-0 lead.

"We weren't as aggressive as we could have been last series, and this series we were aggressive against a good pitcher," Kendrick said. "Winning always feels good, and when you put runs on the board early, it makes it even better for the starting pitcher."

While commanding his pitches the entire night, Weaver did get into trouble in the seventh inning, when he gave up a single to David DeJesus to start the inning and a walk to Suzuki with two out to put runners on the corners. Weaver induced A's second baseman Mark Ellis to pop out to right field to end the inning and the threat.

Getting in to a little bit of trouble in the ninth inning after giving up singles to Ryan Sweeney and Hideki Matsui, Weaver got the next two batters out to end the game and keep his shutout intact.

While Weaver did get a little tired in the ninth and some of his pitches were elevated, the righty said he badly wanted to finish out the game.

"It felt really good to be out there in the ninth," Weaver said. "It has been a while since I was out on that mound [at Angel Stadium] in the ninth. To hear the crowd chanting my name got me pumped up and helped me through that inning. It was pretty cool."

Weaver's sixth win of the season also marked his 70th career win (70-39) as an Angel, securing the best winning percentage in club history at the time of 70 victories.

"I think he pitches this well every year," Kendrick said. "I have been with him since 2005 in the Minor Leagues, and he has always had the same mentality of attacking the strike zone. He uses everything he has and knows how to pitch." Comments