Weaver flirts with no-no as Halos roll
Bats back gem with big night against Mariners' Felix
SEATTLE -- After a seven-game losing streak, it was time to put the foot down.The Angels' answer to their longest skid since 2001 was the equivalent of putting a boot through the floor. Two four-run innings, three home runs and a gem of a start from Jered Weaver culminated in an 8-0 win against the Mariners on Friday in front of 37,602 at Safeco Field. Weaver held Seattle's struggling offense hitless through 6 2/3 innings, and he left in the eighth having allowed just six Mariners to reach base -- three on walks, two on hits and one on a fielder's choice. In a matchup billed as a duel of aces, Weaver outclassed Felix Hernandez thanks to the Angels' offense, which roughed up Hernandez to the tune of eight runs on five hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings, his shortest outing since April 2007. "Our fellas got to a great pitcher," Weaver said. "He's one of the best in the league, and to get four runs in the first and come back in the fourth and get four more was awesome. That took a lot of pressure off me. "Obviously we'd been struggling a little bit, but tonight we showed how our game is supposed to be played and how we should go about things. It was a great team win overall, and it was nice to get one of those after we'd been struggling a little bit." The Angels scored four in the first on two walks, a single and a three-run double by Kendry Morales, who went on to score on a sac fly. In the fourth, the Angels exploded for four more runs on three homers. Hideki Matsui drew a leadoff walk, which Juan Rivera and Howard Kendrick followed with back-to-back shots. Two batters later, Ryan Budde sent a 1-0 pitch into the left-field bleachers for the first dinger of his career. A four-run first inning wasn't enough for the Angels on Thursday in Boston, but it was plenty to overcome Seattle with Weaver on the hill. He let former Angels staple Chone Figgins reach second on a walk and stolen base in the first but got out of the inning unscathed, and he mostly coasted from there. Third baseman Brandon Wood kept the no-no alive in the fifth with a nifty backhand play to get Jose Lopez at first, and Weaver didn't allow a hit until Ken Griffey Jr. drove a grounder through the right side with two out in the seventh. "I'd be lying if everyone didn't have their eye on [the no-hitter], but no one was consumed with it," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Weav pitched a terrific game, and I think if he'd gotten through that seventh, there might have been a little more [excitement]. At that point, we were trying to make sure we were throwing strikes and kept on top of the game." In the eighth, Weaver finally ran out of steam. His 118th pitch, a curveball, got slapped into the right-field corner by Michael Saunders for a double. That left runners on second and third with one out, and Scioscia turned to reliever Scot Shields. "He made me look pretty foolish on breaking balls my first two at-bats," said Saunders, who was called up from Triple-A on Thursday. "In my last one, I told myself to fight off fastballs and sit on his curve. You know, he ended up giving a curveball and I was kind of sitting on it and pulled it down the line." Shields got out of the jam with a strikeout and flyout, and he retired the Mariners quietly in the ninth. It was a bounce-back performance for Weaver, who left his last outing in the fifth inning of a 5-1 loss to Detroit. He now has six quality starts in seven tries this season, and Friday was the deepest he has taken a no-hitter in his career. The game was redemptive for the Angels as a whole, too. They held a players-only meeting for about 20 minutes prior to taking batting practice, and it resulted in a new attitude for a team that had been in free fall during the first seven games of its 10-game road trip. "I think the team's mindset was totally different today going into the game," center fielder Torii Hunter said. "We cleared up some things. It was pretty cool to clear that up and we went out with a different mindset ready to play. No matter whether we won or lost, we were going to play the game we've grown to love and know how to play. Just play our game, and that's what we planned on doing today."
Mike McCall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.