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Weaver of history: Angels starter begins career 9-0

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- After joining Whitey Ford as the only AL
rookies to win their first nine decisions as a starter, Jered
Weaver was well aware of the significance of his company.

Weaver, a lanky 6-foot-7, 205-pounder with a deceptive delivery,
held Seattle to three singles over seven innings in the Los Angeles
Angels' 3-0 victory Friday night.

The 23-year-old Weaver, who lowered his ERA in 12 starts to
1.95, took his record-tying feat in stride.

"It's great to be mentioned in the same sentence with Whitey
Ford," said Weaver, who added that he's familiar with the
accomplishments of Ford, who set the record with the New York
Yankees in 1950.

"I didn't expect anything like that," Weaver said. "It's
great, but now I've got to start thinking about how to get that
10th win."

Keeping most of his pitches low and clipping the corners, Weaver
struck out seven and issued just one walk to help deal the Mariners
their ninth consecutive loss. It also was Seattle's 18th loss in a
row to AL West opponents, a league record. Detroit lost 17 straight
from 1996-97. Seattle's last win over a division rival was a 6-2
victory over the Angels on June 11.

Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke, sharing the managing duties
with pitching coach Bud Black while manager Mike Scioscia serves a
three-game suspension, continues to be impressed by the
right-hander.

"I don't know if I've seen a young guy who throws up so many
zeros. Even if he has an off night, they might get one or two
runs," Roenicke said. "They just do not see the ball well against
him."

Seattle manager Mike Hargrove agreed.

"The guy's awfully good. He hides the ball really well and
there's a lot of deception," he said. "He commands his fastball
real well and he's a tough prospect to hit, plain and simple.

"He's got a (1.95) ERA right now, and you don't get those by
accident."

Adrian Beltre, who went 0-for-2 against Weaver and was hit by a
pitch by the Angels' right-hander, said, "He kind of hides the
ball a little bit and his delivery is a little funky. And he throws
a lot of strikes. He throws it on the outside corner and it looks
like a ball, so you take it and it's a strike."

Others to win at least their first nine decisions as starters
were Livan Hernandez, nine for Florida before losing in 1997; Kirk
Rueter, with 10 victories for Montreal in 1993-94; Ford with nine;
and the New York Giants' Hooks Wiltse, who went 12-0 in 1904 before
losing.

Vladimir Guerrero put the Angels in front with a broken-bat RBI
single in the first inning and Mike Napoli added his 13th homer, a
two-run shot in the fourth off Felix Hernandez (10-11).

Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez combined to finish the
four-hitter for the Angels, with Rodriguez working the ninth for
his 33rd save in 36 chances.

Weaver won his first seven starts, including a 7-1 victory over
Hernandez and the Mariners on July 3, then had three consecutive
no-decisions before he beat the Yankees on Sunday. Only Wiltse had
a better record than Weaver through 12 major league starts.

Hernandez gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings, with
six strikeouts and one walk.

Scioscia, serving the second game of a three-game suspension for
his role in the Angels' brawl against the Rangers in Texas on
Wednesday, watched on TV in the clubhouse as the Angels upped their
record to 2-0 while he sits out.

"I've made it through two, and as long as we win, I'll be
fine," said Scioscia, who will return to the dugout on Sunday.

The Angels again were without second baseman Adam Kennedy and
reliever Kevin Gregg, suspended for four games for the
bench-clearing brawl. Brendan Donnelly has appealed his four-game
suspension, so he remained in the bullpen, and Roenicke will serve
his one-game suspension when Scioscia returns.

Hargrove said before the game that he was giving Ichiro Suzuki
the night off, which would have ended his streak of 360 consecutive
games. But Hargrove changed his mind and used Suzuki to pinch hit
in the eighth. He grounded out and remained in the game in right
field.

"It made sense for him to hit there," Hargrove said. "Willie
(Bloomquist) wasn't having a lot of success tonight."

Batting in Suzuki's leadoff spot, Bloomquist went 0-for-3,
striking out three times against Weaver.
^Notes:@ The Mariners are 10-30 in division play this year. ...
Napoli's homer was his first since July 15. ... Beltre's
ground-rule double in the ninth inning ran his hitting streak to 14
games, and he's reached base safely in 29 straight, the longest
active streak in the majors.