Weaver delivers for Angels
Jered Weaver didn’t have his best stuff Monday night, needing 106 pitches to get through six innings.
Neither did the Angels’ bullpen -- five relievers combined to walk six and throw 86 pitches in three innings -- nor the offense, which was two for 15 with runners in scoring position.
Yet, the Angels still managed to defeat the Cleveland Indians, 5-2, in Angel Stadium, an indication that an Angels club that has won eight of 11 games is beginning to hit its stride after a 2-6 start or that the Indians are every bit as mediocre as their 8-11 record.
“You can see it coming together,” said Weaver, who gave up one run and seven hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking one, to improve to 3-0 and lower his earned-run average to 2.53.
“You can see things starting to click. It’s only a matter of time before we get this thing rolling.”
Bobby Abreu is on a roll. The right fielder hit a two-run homer in the sixth and is batting.462 (12 for 26) in his last seven games, and he got a good jump on and caught Grady Sizemore’s line drive to the warning track with two on to end the eighth.
Hideki Matsui singled in the fifth for major league hit No. 1,000, Brandon Wood had three singles to raise his average from .113 to .158, reliever Kevin Jepsen extricated the Angels from a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh and Brian Fuentes struck out three of five batters in the ninth for his third save.
But the Angels, despite scoring three runs in the first, which featured Erick Aybar’s first career leadoff homer, Abreu’s single, Torii Hunter’s double, Matsui’s sacrifice fly and Juan Rivera’s run-scoring single, never really seemed in control Monday night.
“Those guys hung around,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of the Indians. “We had chances to put them away early and didn’t.”
Weaver, who threw 117 pitches in his previous game, has given the Angels five quality starts (six innings or more, three earned runs or fewer) in five games, but he seemed to labor for much of Monday night.
“It was a battle,” Weaver said. “I looked up in the fourth inning, and I thought it was the eighth. . . . The pitches added up, but it was awesome to be able to limit the damage.”
Weaver could have thrown six shutout innings. The Indians scored their only run in the second after Rivera and Wood lost track of Russell Branyan’s popup, which fell in shallow left for a gift double.
Weaver struck out Austin Kearns for what should have been the third out, but Jhonny Peralta whistled a line drive past Weaver’s head and into center field for a run-scoring single.
“Weav wasn’t as crisp, he threw a lot of pitches in his last outing, and I don’t know if that had any lingering effect,” Scioscia said. “He didn’t seem quite the same, but it’s a good sign when a guy isn’t quite as crisp but can still be effective.”
With Wood aboard in the sixth, Abreu hit ahomer to right center for a 5-1 lead, but reliever Jason Bulger ran into trouble in the seventh, walking three of the four batters he faced. He was bailed out by Jepsen, who whiffed cleanup batter Travis Hafner and got Branyan to ground to shortstop.
Kearns led off the eighth with a homer against Brian Stokes, pulling Cleveland to within 5-2. Stokes walked Luis Valbuena with one out, but Fernando Rodney came on to strike out pinch-hitter Mark Grudzielanek.
Asdrubal Cabrera walked, and Sizemore smoked a line drive to the corner in right, but Abreu, who is not known for his defensive prowess, made a nice lunging catch.