The Los Angeles Angels' right-hander regained his winning form
after the worst outing of his rookie season, scattering six hits
over seven innings Monday night in a 1-0 victory over the Baltimore
Jered Weaver improved to 10-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 15 career starts with seven shutout innings and a win over the Orioles on Monday. In the last 40 years, two other pitchers won at least 10 of their first 15 starts with as low an ERA as Weaver: Cal Eldred, who was 12-1 with a 1.85 ERA over 1991-1992 and Mark Fidrych, who was 11-3 with a 1.82 ERA in 1976.
Weaver did not make his major league debut until May 27. Last year, Ervin Santana won 12 games for the Angels after not debuting until May 17. The only other team since 1900 to get at least 10 wins from a rookie starting pitcher who did not debut until the middle of May in two straight seasons was the Expos in 1973 and 1974 with Steve Rogers (10-5 in 1973) and Dennis Blair (11-7) in 1974.
Last Tuesday at Seattle, Weaver (10-2) gave up four home runs in
4 2/3 innings.
"Coming off that start last time, I knew that I needed to
bounce back and have a good one tonight," said Weaver, who struck
out five and walked one. "You're not going to be perfect every
time. You're going to get banged around, and Seattle got me pretty
good. My command wasn't really that great in that game, so I'm
happy to be able to bounce back from that."
Weaver made his major league debut against Baltimore on May 27
at Anaheim, pitching seven scoreless innings and allowing only
three hits in a 10-1 victory that triggered the first 9-0 start by
an AL rookie since Whitey Ford in 1950.
The only time Baltimore got a runner as far as third base in the
rematch was in the fifth, but Ramon Hernandez grounded into an
inning-ending double play with runners at the corners.
"Jered didn't have many runs to work with, so everything he did
was magnified. And he responded in terrific fashion to hold a 1-0
lead for most of the game," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's a
competitor. He doesn't want to take losing in stride. He wants to
get right back on the horse."
Scot Shields pitched a perfect eighth, and Francisco Rodriguez
finished for his 39th save in 42 chances, putting him in a tie with
Chicago's Bobby Jenks for the major league saves lead. Rodriguez
has pitched 25 1-3 scoreless innings since giving up a solo homer
to Colorado's Jorge Piedra on June 26.
Los Angeles closed within 6½ games of Oakland, the AL West
Rodrigo Lopez (9-15) allowed a run and five hits over seven
innings, struck out four and walked three. The right-hander, who
leads the majors in defeats, came in 5-1 against the Angels with a
"It doesn't make sense, all those losses," said Adam Kennedy,
who drove in the game's only run with a fourth-inning single.
"That's a huge surprise, just because of the knowledge that he has
and the way he pitches. He's a tough matchup, and he always throws
well against us. He moves the ball in the out and throws his
offspeed pitches for strikes."
Orioles left fielder Brandon Fahey ran full speed toward the
line and made a diving catch to rob Garret Anderson of extra bases
in the fourth. But Juan Rivera followed with a double and scored on
Kennedy's two-out single up the middle -- the Angels' last hit of
Hernandez started behind the plate after missing four games
because of a strained intercostal muscle in his right side. Lopez,
came in 1-9 with an 8.02 ERA in the other 12 starts that Hernandez
has caught him this season. But this time, the batterymates were on
the same wavelength -- particularly during a second-inning crisis.
The Angels loaded the bases with one out and Hernandez went to
the mound after Lopez got behind rookie Mike Napoli 2-1. He retired
Napoli on a called third strike and got Chone Figgins on a grounder
to shortstop, ending the threat.
"We talked before the game about what we wanted to do, and he
came out and executed the way we talked about," Hernandez said.
"He was pitching good, even though he had the bases loaded. I told
him, `We need to make a pitch here. If you strike him out, we'll be
in good shape. And if we get the next guy and get out of this
inning, it's going to be a big part of the ballgame.' So he went
right after them."
Plate umpire Doug Eddings worked his first game at Angel Stadium
since last year's ALCS, when he made one of several controversial
rulings that went against the Angels in that series.
Game Notes Vladimir Guerrero was 0-for-4, ending his hitting streak at
20 games. ... Orioles C Chris Widger, who signed as a free agent on
Aug. 6 after getting released by the White Sox, was sent back to
Baltimore on Monday night to see a doctor because of the pinched
nerve in his neck. ... Napoli, the Angels' rookie catcher, threw
out David Newhan and Miguel Tejada trying to steal second base. ...
Tejada needs 15 hits for his third 200-hit season. He had a
career-high 204 hits in 2002 with Oakland, and finished last season