Reporting from Arlington, Texas — It takes a lot to upstage Jered Weaver, who improved on a brilliant start to his season Wednesday with his first complete game in 20 months.
Yet, even Weaver admitted he deserved no better than second billing in the Angels' 4-1 win over the Texas Rangers. Asked what was more impressive, his pitching or the ball Peter Bourjos caught above the center-field wall, Weaver didn't take long to answer.
"The Catch," he said with enough awe to make the capital letters understood.
"It was unbelievable. That was right up there with one of the best plays I've seen."
No one within earshot was willing to argue. Because although Weaver was again as consistent as a metronome, holding the Rangers to a run and six hits and striking out eight batters, Bourjos was flashy and spectacular, sprinting more than 30 yards and, without breaking stride, leaping against the padded wall to take an extra-base hit away from David Murphy in the seventh inning.
"That was not lucky. That was skill," said no less an expert than Torii Hunter, who made his share of improbable catches and has won nine Gold Gloves. "That was impressive
"I was screaming like a little girl. I had chills, screaming 'Peter, I love you!' "
But then the Angels knew Bourjos could play defense, that's why they've left him in center field and moved Hunter and Vernon Wells to the corners.
Bourjos' recent contributions on offense have been a bonus and Wednesday hit a triple and scored what proved to be the winning run on Jeff Mathis' fifth-inning squeeze.
"The squeeze play," Weaver said with a smile, "was pretty sweet too."
Yet, although Bourjos finished the Texas series with seven hits in 12 at-bats, lifting his season average to .295, all anyone wanted to talk about after the game was the catch.
"Right as I was going up against the wall, it was kind of like 'How did I get here?' " said Bourjos, who watched a replay on the stadium's scoreboard as he walked back to his position. "It was pretty cool. It was probably one of the best catches I've made."
Still in his opinion, it wasn't the performance of the day.
"I'll take the complete game," he said.
And certainly Weaver was brilliant too, allowing only one Ranger as far as second base and retiring 10 batters in a row into the sixth inning, when Texas scored. But with a big assist from Bourjos, Weaver allowed only one runner to reach base after that and improved to 5-0 with his first complete game since August 2009.
All but lost in the shuffle was the fact that the win was the seventh in eight games for the Angels, who are alone in first place in the American League West for this first time this season.
"We're doing very well in pitching and playing terrific defense," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said in summing up the day. "But you know what? We have to get better. We have to do some things better for the long haul."