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Angels, Weaver start season with a victory

March 31, 2011 |  4:32 pm

Liy3h5nc Jered Weaver held Kansas City to two hits over 6 1/3 innings while Torii Hunter and Jeff Mathis both hit home runs, leading the Angels to a 4-2 win over the Royals in the season opener.

Melky Cabrera had both hits off Weaver -- an opposite-field bloop single in the fourth and a ground single to center in the sixth. But aside from that the right-hander was dominant, allowing just one other baserunner on a two-out walk to Billy Butler in the fourth.

Weaver struck out six and threw 107 pitches, 67 for strikes. But then he had to wait out a bullpen meltdown before closer Fernando Rodney finally got the last out with the tying runs on base.

Left-hander Hisanori Takahashi followed Weaver to the mound and gave up a solo home run to Jeff Francoeur on his ninth pitch. After allowing singles to the next two hitters, Takahashi was lifted for Jordan Walden, who struck out the only Royal he faced. But an inning later Kansas City's Mike Aviles greeted Kevin Jepsen with leadoff home run. When Jepsen walked two of the next three hitters, he gave way to Michael Kohn, who walked his first batter to load the bases before escaping the jam. Rodney then survived a shaky ninth that included a two-out Alex Gordon drive to left that just missed being a game-winning three-run home run. Gordon struck out two pitches later.

Hunter, meanwhile, got the Angels' offense started with a mammoth home run over the batter's eye in center field leading off the fourth inning. The homer, which came on a 3-2 pitch, was estimated to have traveled more than 435 feet.

Hunter also reached based on an error and a broken-bat single and took away a hit in the sixth inning, making a diving catch of an Aviles blooper near the right-field line.

Mathis' home run came with two out in the sixth and was his first since last July 24. It also made Mathis, who was celebrating his 28th birthday, just the third player in history to hit an opening day homer on this birthday. The catcher added a two-out double in the eighth inning.

The Angels finished with 12 hits with every player in the lineup reaching base at least once with the exception of rookie Mark Trumbo, who went 0 for 4.


Angels-Royals box score

- Kevin Baxter in Kansas City, Mo.

Photo: Kansas City Royals catcher Matt Treanor (15) hangs onto the ball at the plate as he tags out Los Angeles Angels' Jeff Mathis (5) to end the top of the 8th inning  March 31, 2011, in Kansas City, Missouri. Credit: John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/MCT