Angels' Kendrick kicks off dominating shutout with leadoff shot

CHICAGO -- Jered Weaver enjoyed a stress-free day on the mound in his first start at Wrigley Field.

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella had a much more aggravating afternoon.

Howie Kendrick hit a leadoff homer to start a big outburst by the Los Angeles Angels' offense and Weaver pitched seven stellar innings in a 12-0 rout of the struggling Cubs on Saturday.

"Once I got out there it was awesome," Weaver said. "I love pitching in old parks. It's a great environment. I just wanted to go out there and make pitches and obviously the guys put up a four-spot in the first, so it took a lot of pressure off me. I felt real comfortable after that. They didn't stop hitting, so it was nice."

Juan Rivera cracked a three-run double to cap a four-run first against Ted Lilly, who took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of his previous start. Torii Hunter added a two-run homer and Kendrick drove in three runs for the Angels, who improved to an AL-best 18-6 since May 24 and earned their 12th victory in 14 road games.

Handed a comfortable cushion before he took the ball, Weaver (7-3) yielded only two hits and struck out 11 without issuing a walk. He didn't allow a runner past first base and has won consecutive starts for the first time this season.

Early on, Weaver knew he had his best stuff of the year.

"The second or third inning. When the plate looks a little closer than usual, it's going to be a pretty good day," he said. "I got into a rhythm by the third inning, then started mixing in some off-speed pitches and tried to keep them as off balance as possible."

The Cubs, who have lost six of nine, had another dismal performance in front of 40,008 at Wrigley Field. Chicago sent 30 batters to the plate, three more than the minimum, and fans who hung around for the Angels' three-run ninth peppered the home team with boos.

After the game Piniella spoke to his club, which is 30-38.

"What am I supposed to do? Yell and scream? That doesn't work. Criticize people? That doesn't do any good. You have to go out and play on the field. That's all you can do. Play on the field. If not then you're going to get embarrassed like we did today," Piniella said. "We've tried everything we have. We've pitched everybody, we've played everybody, we changed lineups, we have done everything I can humanly do to get this thing turned around. That's all I can do."

A leadoff single in the ninth by pinch-hitter Juan Pierre ended Lilly's no-hit bid Sunday night during a 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox. This time, the left-hander gave up a home run to Kendrick on his fourth pitch.

Lilly then allowed hard-hit singles to Kevin Frandsen and Bobby Abreu, who finished with four hits. One out later, Mike Napoli walked to load the bases and Rivera cleared them with a double over the head of center fielder Marlon Byrd.

Lilly (2-6) labored through a 35-pitch first inning. After allowing Abreu's third hit in the fifth, he was tagged for a two-run shot by Hunter. His 12th home run of the season and second in two games made it 6-0.

"We have a much deeper look now that some guys are swinging the bat, even with Kendry [Morales] out of the lineup," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Our lineup is getting deeper, which means that we're going to pressure teams more consistently. That's going to be important to us moving forward."

Lilly allowed a season-high eight runs, six earned, and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three.

In his previous five starts, Lilly gave up a combined six earned runs. But in his last six starts, the Cubs have totaled seven runs.

"When a starting pitcher goes out there and puts us in a hole it makes it awfully tough," Lilly said. "I certainly didn't do anything to get the momentum going in our favor."

Scot Shields finished up for the Angels with two scoreless innings and had his first at-bat since 2006. He struck out looking on three pitches.

Kendrick, batting leadoff for the third straight game after doing so only one other time in his career, chased Lilly with an RBI single in the sixth. After retiring his first batter, Cubs reliever Jeff Stevens allowed an RBI single to Abreu.

Bobby Wilson moved to third on Weaver's single in the seventh and scored on Kendrick's single.

Game notes
Angels SS Erick Aybar missed his fourth straight game with a hyperextended left knee. Aybar was hitting .382 in June before the injury. He will be re-evaluated Monday when the club gets back to California. Scioscia said he doesn't foresee Aybar going on the disabled list. ... The Cubs signed their first-round draft pick, RHP Hayden Simpson, who was selected 16th overall out of Southern Arkansas University. ... Kendrick is hitting .311 in June after batting .239 in May. ... Hunter is hitting .354 in June.