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LAA@FLA: Weaver pitches seven innings of one-run ball

MIAMI -- Jered Weaver and Anibal Sanchez waged an Interleague duel worthy of a pair of All-Stars on Monday night after rain delayed new Florida interim manager Jack McKeon's debut by an hour and 43 minutes at Sun Life Stadium.

Weaver and Sanchez held the opposition to a run across seven innings before Weaver and the Angels prevailed, 2-1, when Torii Hunter drove in his second run of the game with an infield out in the eighth against reliever Steve Cishek. Maicer Izturis scored after starting the rally with his third hit, advancing to third on Erick Aybar's second single.

Weaver moved to 9-4 with the victory, holding the Marlins to five hits and a walk while striking out six.

Hunter's RBI single, cashing in Aybar, had tied it in the sixth. Hunter's grounder through the middle ended a spirited battle with Sanchez, who was unable to put away Hunter with a third strike.

"That guy [Sanchez] tonight, that was a fight," Hunter said. "That guy is good. I've never seen him before. Just fight. That's the only way I know how to play. Play every day -- hurt, tired, it doesn't matter. Just do whatever you can. This year's been difficult. We're just trying to find ways to win."

The Angels' trying times have been nothing compared to what Florida has experienced. This defeat was the Marlins' 11th in a row and 19th in 20 games. McKeon, assuming the reins from Edwin Rodriguez, came away disappointed but undaunted.

"Some of these guys performed so well early in the season, and now that we're in a rut, they tend to try to do too much and play outside themselves," McKeon said. "They all want to help end this thing instead of doing the best you can and relax. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. They'll be fine. We've been through it before."

Charged with the loss was Cishek (0-1), who impressed Hunter.

"That guy was tough, too," Hunter said. "He was dealing. I just got my bat on the ball, and Izzy scored. This whole night was a fight."

For Weaver, who has been even better than last season, this was the ninth time he has yielded one or no runs in a start.

Drenched all night in perspiration, Weaver changed shirts only once, mid-game. Scott Downs and Jordan Walden finished the job with an inning each of high-octane relief, Walden notching his 17th save.

"One thing I can't handle is humidity," Weaver said, grinning. "That's one thing my body can't handle. I was able to get through the seventh, and we got that big run in the eighth. It was a good pitcher's duel, a battle. I'm just happy we won."

The Angels tied it in the sixth with some classic small ball. Aybar dragged a bunt single with one out, took second on Sanchez's balk, moved to third on a passed ball and scored when Hunter singled through an infield drawn tight. Hunter shortened his stroke with two strikes, winning a protracted duel with Sanchez.

Hunter's 41 runs batted in during Interleague Play since the 2009 season are the most in the Majors. He owns 146 RBIs in 197 Interleague games, along with 40 homers.

The Angels let a pair of early opportunities get away. Izturis doubled leading off the game and took third on Aybar's infield out. But Hunter struck out and Bobby Abreu lined out.

"His first at-bat, Torii came back and he was upset," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It paid off in his third at-bat, with two strikes, fouling one off and then getting that hit through the middle. That second run was Izzy's. He had a really good jump at third base and was able to score on Torii's grounder.

"It was a frustrating night for us on the offensive side. Fortunately, Weav was able to keep us in the game."

The Angels were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Vernon Wells led off the second with a single and moved up on a wild pitch. Sanchez retired Howard Kendrick and Mark Trumbo on grounders and Jeff Mathis on a fly ball.

The Marlins scraped together a run in the second on singles by Jose Lopez and John Buck and Dewayne Wise's sacrifice fly.

Double plays frustrated the Angels after singles by Izturis in the third and Abreu in the fourth, and Trumbo advanced no farther after his single in the fifth.

"I tried to keep the ball down," Sanchez said. "I know that team has a lot of power. I knew I had to keep the ball down for everything. The double play helped me out a lot today."

In his return to the managerial game, McKeon couldn't have asked for a better effort from his starting pitcher. Sanchez has yielded three or fewer runs in 13 of his 15 starts and owns the only two Florida wins since May 29.

The Marlins threatened in the fifth with two on and two outs, but Abreu made a fine running catch of a drive into the left-field corner by Gaby Sanchez.

"That was a big play by Bobby," Scioscia said. "He got a good break and came a long way for it."

The Angels have won six of the past nine and are 5-2 in Interleague Play. Comments