Weaver rejects counter culture
The Angels donned flashback uniforms from the 1960s Friday night, and for much of the evening, Jered Weaver seemed locked in his own little turn-back-the-clock time warp.
Unable to put away the pesky New York Yankees, Weaver needed 89 pitches to get through four innings, including 15 in the game’s first at-bat against Derek Jeter, who fouled off nine straight two-strike pitches before flying out to center field.
It was reminiscent of 2007, when a good-but-not-yet-great Weaver would get to two strikes and give up foul balls in bunches, often driving his pitch counts into triple digits by the fifth inning.
Then the fifth inning started, and Weaver morphed into the right-hander who dominated opponents in April to the tune of a 6-0 record and 0.99 earned-run average.
Weaver retired the last eight batters he faced and needed only 30 pitches to get through his final three innings, the Angels holding on for a 3-2 victory that gave their ace his first win since April 25.
Peter Bourjos broke a 2-2 tie with a bases-loaded single in the fourth, left-hander Scott Downs threw a scoreless eighth, and closer Jordan Walden struck out two in the ninth for his 13th save.
Weaver (7-4) went seven innings, allowing two runs and three hits, striking out eight and walking four to end a six-start string in which he lost four games and had two no-decisions.
“I wasn’t on my game, and those guys were very patient, working counts,” said Weaver, who made 119 pitches. “They got me to a pitch count where I was begging to get through five innings. Then in the sixth, things started clicking. It was a grind, but we came out on top.”
Jeter set the tone with his first at-bat, after which Weaver expressed words of disbelief to the Yankees captain as he rounded first.
“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ ” Weaver said. “That’s not the way you want a game to start, with a 15-pitch at-bat, but he’s a battler. I’m glad I got him out. My pitch count was already up there. If he gets on base, it’s going to go even higher.”
Indeed, as Manager Mike Scioscia noted, “It could have been worse. If he goes 15 pitches and gets on base, that’s a different situation.”
The win improved the Angels to 55-45 against the Yankees since 2000 and 21-8 in their last 29 games against them in Angel Stadium. The Angels are the only team in the American League with a winning record against the Yankees since 2000.
The Angels took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Erick Aybar singled, Bobby Abreu hit a run-scoring double, took third on a passed ball and scored on Alberto Callaspo’s groundout.
New York tied it with runs in the second (Alex Rodriguez double, Russell Martin RBI single) and fourth (Jorge Posada RBI double), but Weaver struck out Posada and Brett Gardner with two on to end the second and Gardner with runners on second and third to end the fourth.
The Angels took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Russell Branyan and Mark Trumbo singled, Jeff Mathis walked, and Bourjos lined an RBI single to left.