When Angels Manager Mike Scioscia emerged from the dugout to fetch Jered Weaver in the seventh inning on Wednesday, the crowd at Angel Stadium booed.
On the mound Weaver huffed and shook his head. Before he plunked the ball in Scioscia’s hands, he appeared to say something.
The crowd wanted to see more, and Weaver wanted to deliver more. Why not? The Angels’ 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox was the latest start in Weaver’s budding reclamation project. He went 61/3 innings, struck out five and allowed five hits.
It was perhaps his best start of the season, save a shutout in May. Since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 9, Weaver is 2-1 in three starts with a 2.08 earned-run average and 13 hits over 171/3 innings.
“Just feels nice to be able to locate again,” Weaver said.
When he was pulled, Weaver had thrown just 86 pitches. The last, a 74-mph changeup, danced past Alexei Ramirez, who flipped his bat into his hands after striking out, put his head down and stole a quick glance at Weaver, as if in wonderment.
Scioscia said Weaver isn’t stretched out enough to go much deeper.
Weaver said he wasn’t bothered.
“That’s just the competitive side of things,” he said.
Ramirez was so far in front of one 69-mph curveball that he grazed the ball off the nub of his bat and grounded out feebly to the pitcher. Tyler Saladino did the same two innings later on a 68-mph curve.
“He was a master tonight of changing speeds,” Scioscia said. Joe Smith, who earned the save, said of Weaver: “He’s freezing guys on mid-80s fastballs inside. How do you do that?”
Ultimately, the pitching moved worked. Trevor Gott closed the inning and pitched the eighth. With Huston Street out after three straight appearances, Smith got the save in rather dramatic fashion, on a three-minute 36-second video review. With two on, the White Sox seemed to avoid a game-ending double play, but after the review, it was determined Smith’s foot grazed first base to record the final out.
Weaver’s performance was enough to offset the Angels’ inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Their only run came when Carlos Perez hit a fastball for a home run in the sixth inning.
White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija gave up only one run, but while Weaver did it with off-speed offerings, and with ease, Samardzija did it with heat and drama.
The Angels loaded the bases in the second inning with no outs. Kole Calhoun led off the third with a double. In the fourth, there were runners on second and third, and in the fifth there were runners on first and second. All were stranded.
The Angels found a way to win, as they often have at home. They are 1-12 on the road since the All-Star break but have won four in a row at home. They are 24-34 in away games and 39-23 at Angel Stadium.
They needed the win to keep pace of the Houston Astros, who beat the Tampa Bay Rays in 13 innings. They remain 21/2 games back in the division and stayed half a game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles for the last wild-card spot.
Right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-1, 3.00 ERA) will oppose White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana (6-10, 3.62) on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Angel Stadium. TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 1330.