Jered Weaver throws seven shutout innings to lead Angels past Royals, 5-4
Jered Weaver out-pitched 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke on Thursday, allowing four hits in seven shutout innings and striking out nine to lead the Angels to a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals in Kauffman Stadium.
The Angels (28-28) won three of four games from the Royals and have won five of their last six games to push their record to .500 for the first time since April 30, when they were 12-12.
The win was Weaver's first since May 7, snapping a string of one loss and four no-decisions. Weaver, who has not allowed an earned run in 16 consecutive innings, increased his season strikeout total to 83, which ties him for the major league lead with Arizona's Dan Haren and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum.
Erick Aybar, who is in danger of losing his leadoff spot to Maicer Izturis, helped solidify his position at the top of the order with a double, a single and two walks in five plate appearances, though he was thrown out in the first inning trying to stretch a double into a triple.
Michael Ryan doubled to lead off the second inning and scored on Kevin Frandsen's single to center, and Torii Hunter followed Aybar's single in the fifth with a two-out, two-run home run to left-center field, his second homer in two games and ninth of the season. The Angels took a 4-0 lead on Howie Kendricks' RBI fielder's-choice grounder in the eighth.
Frandsen, who bunted for a single and scored in the sixth, made two outstanding plays at third base, back-handing Jason Kendall's fifth-inning shot and throwing to first to end the inning with runners on first and third, and back-handing Billy Butler's eighth-inning grounder and throwing to second to start an inning-ending double play.
Kevin Jepsen had relieved Weaver to start the eighth and gave up two runs in a Royals rally that started with a Chris Getz walk and a Scott Podsednik single. Both runners advanced on Jepsen's wild pitch, and Kendall's RBI groundout and David DeJesus' RBI single pulled Kansas City to within 4-2.
But Angels Manager Mike Scioscia summoned right-hander Fernando Rodney to face Butler, who hit the first pitch he saw for a double-play grounder. The Angels tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Hunter doubled off the center-field wall, took third on Hideki Matsui's third single of the day and scored on Mike Napoli's sacrifice fly to center.
That run turned out to be decisive when Angels closer Brian Fuentes, pitching for the first time since Saturday, walked Jose Guillen to open the ninth and, after striking out Alberto Callaspo, gave up a pinch-hit, two-run homer to Willie Bloomquist that pulled the Royals within 5-4.
But Fuentes got Yuniesky Betancourt to fly to center for the second out. Pinch-hitter Mike Aviles walked, and Podsednik struck out looking to end the game, Fuentes getting his seventh save.
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Kansas CityPhoto: Jered Weaver. Credit: Reuters.