ANAHEIM: Jered Weaver’s neck began to tighten in the third inning, but it was not enough to derail a near-perfect Sunday (Monday in Manila) afternoon by the Angels pitcher.
Weaver shook off the stiffness and threw six shutout innings before giving up a two-run home run in a 10-2 victory against Baltimore at Angel Stadium.
Despite the sore neck, Weaver’s arm was in fine working order, scattering just five hits and striking out six in seven innings, the only blip being that home run with two outs in the seventh.
“Weaver got stronger as the game went on,” Manager Mike Scoiscia said. “His command of the fastball was important as well as his changeup.”
Weaver (4-3) continually baffled the Orioles hitters with his curveball, fastball and changeup until Jonathan Schoop got the better of one of his curveballs and sent the pitch 433 feet over the left-field wall, spoiling the shutout bid.
“I’m getting there,” said Weaver, who was charged with a loss in his last start against the Dodgers. “The command was a little better. But to be honest, the front door was locked. The back door was bolted so I was coming through the chimney today with the curveball.
“(My breaking ball) was more consistent than it has been, a little bit sharper. Like I said, it’s coming along. It’s still not where I want it to be but it was a good, a better day, of being able to repeat my pitches.”
Weaver could relax on the mound after the Angels spotted him a 6-0 lead.
The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the second when Orioles infielders Chris Davis and Schoop had trouble fielding Carlos Perez’s broken-bat single that landed just to the right of first base. That enabled C.J. Cron to score from second for the first run.
The Angels didn’t need any help from the Orioles to score five more runs in the third. Their bats did all the work.
Yunel Escobar got things started with a leadoff double then scored on Kole Calhoun’s hard-hit single for a 2-0 lead. Calhoun then scored on Albert Pujols’ double to left, which also sent Mike Trout, who had walked, to third.
Johnny Giavotella knocked in Trout with a single, followed by a run-scoring double by Cron for a 5-0 lead. Cron scored the final run of the inning on Perez’s second broken-bat single of the game.
“It’s huge to go out there and not worry about being perfect with pitches,” Weaver said of the early lead. “To just go out there and try to throw it in the zone and get some outs. I was able to do some stuff on my part and the defense played really well behind me.”
The Orioles’ back-to-back hits in the seventh prompted a visit by Scioscia.
“I just wanted to take his pulse a little bit – almost literally take his pulse – to make sure he was still good, that he didn’t stiffen up, tighten up,” Scioscia said. “He said ‘I feel great. I want to get this guy.’ It was important to us that he got that big out.”
Weaver got catcher Caleb Joseph to line out to center field for the third out.
The Angels added four more runs in the bottom of seventh, keyed by a three-run homer run by Perez, who had a big day going 3 for 4 with five RBI. Overall, the Angels collected 12 hits – eight off Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez – six of those hits coming in the third inning.
“We have a lot of good guys in this clubhouse, clutch guys,” Weaver said. “A lot of guys got off to a slow start to the beginning of the season and are coming around, swinging the bats well. Pitching is getting a lot better.
“We’re starting to click a little bit and it’s nice to see.”