Albert Pujols hitless, Jered Weaver dealing in scoreless game
Albert Pujols struck out swinging against Kansas City Royals reliever Aaron Crow in the seventh inning, and the Angels and Royals enter the eighth inning scoreless.
Pujols earlier lined into a double play and fouled out to third base in his debut at Angel Stadium, where a sellout crowd of 44,106 is watching.
The Angels, riding a strong performance by starting pitcher Jered Weaver (10 strikeouts through eight innings), haven’t had a runner at second base since the first inning.
Kendrys Morales hammered a pitch from Royals starter Bruce Chen to deep center field in the fifth, but Lorenzo Cain caught it, holding the ball in his glove above his head for an extended period as if to intensify the anguish of fans who believed the shot was going over the wall.
Through six innings, Weaver had eight strikeouts, no walks and had thrown only 69 pitches. He wasn’t spectacular during the spring, with an earned-run average above 4.00, but he reverted under the lights to spectacular and added his ninth strikeout on a called strike to cleanup hitter Billy Butler to start the seventh inning.
The Royals’ next batter, Jeff Francoeur, lined a double to left field, however, and Weaver fell behind 3-0 to the next batter on his 80th pitch. Francoeur was leading too far off second, and Weaver spun and fired a pickoff throw that second baseman Howie Kendrick converted into an out with a tag.
Weaver could’ve been out of the seventh inning on a foul popup, but third baseman Mark Trumbo committed his second error of the game by misjudging the fly ball hit by Yuniesky Betancourt near the Angels on-deck circle. Right after, Betancourt looped a single to shallow left, causing Weaver to shout in frustration while walking off the mound toward third base.
The stress subsided when Mike Moustakas grounded out to second base to end the seventh.
By striking out his 10th batter, Alex Gordon, to close the eighth inning, Weaver joined Nolan Ryan and Andy Messersmith as the only Angels to reach 10 strikeouts on opening day.
The Royals, after receiving six shutout innings from Chen, summoned reliever Crow for the seventh. The left-handed Chen struck out four four and gave up only three hits while throwing 75 pitches, 54 of which were strikes.
Crow struck out both Kendrick and Pujols swinging.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.