Jered Weaver sharp again in another Angels win
While much of April has been turbulent for his rotation mates, whose starts have swung wildly between superb and awful, Jered Weaver’s month has been like a drive across the Kansas plains, nary a bump in sight.
The right-hander gave up one run and seven hits, struck out seven and walked one in six innings Monday night to lead the Angels to a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Angel Stadium.
Bobby Abreu’s bat continued to sizzle -- he hit a two-run homer in the sixth and is batting .462 (12 for 26) in his last seven games -- and the right fielder 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 it was Weaver who set the tone for the evening with his fifth quality start (six innings or more, three earned runs or fewer) in five games to improve to 3-0 and lower his earned-run average to 2.53.
Weaver very easily could have thrown a shutout for six innings. The Indians scored their only run against him in the second after left fielder Juan Rivera and Wood, the third baseman who was shifted to the shortstop spot, 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 of the inning, but Jhonny Peralta whistled a line drive past Weaver’s head and into center field for a run-scoring single.
The Angels had their way with Cleveland starter David Huff in the first, scoring the first of three runs when Erick Aybar lined a shot into the left-field seats for his first career leadoff homer.
Abreu singled to left, Torii Hunter doubled to right center, Matsui hit a sacrifice fly, and Rivera dumped a soft single to right center to score Hunter for a 3-0 lead.
But Huff escaped a two-on, none-out jam in the second, a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth and a two-on, two-out jam in the fifth to keep the Indians within striking distance at 3-1.
Wood then opened the sixth with a single to left, giving him his first multi-hit game of the season, and one out later, Abreu launched a 2-and-0 fastball into the right-center field seats for his fourth homer of the season and a 5-1 lead.
Reliever Jason Bulger ran into trouble in the top of the seventh, walking three of the four batters he faced, but he was bailed out by Jepsen, who whiffed cleanup batter Travis Hafner with a nice cut fastball and got Branyan to ground to shortstop.
Kearns led off the eighth with a solo home run 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 running, lunging catch to preserve the three-run lead.