Weaver, Aybar, Abreu lead Angels to 4-2 win over A's in Game 1 of doubleheader
Jered Weaver (12-4) gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, and the Angels held on for a 4-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader at the Oakland Coliseum.
Reliever Scott Downs survived a shaky eighth inning, allowing a one-out double off the right-field wall to Hideki Matsui, a hit that was reviewed--and upheld--by the umpires, and a two-out walk to David DeJesus. But Downs got Conor Jackson to ground to shortstop, ending the inning.
The Angels took advantage of A's shortstop Cliff Pennington's error to score an insurance run and gain some breathing room in the top of the ninth, as Bobby Abreu's two-out, run-scoring single gave the Angels a 4-2 lead.
Rookie closer Jordan Walden threw a scoreless ninth for his 21st save.
Angels shortstop Erick Aybar had a hand in two of his team's three scoring rallies and a big hand in snuffing out a potential A's rally.
The leadoff batter opened the first inning with a single and broke for second on a pitch Torii Hunter chopped to Pennington. Aybar hesitated for a moment around second and broke for third on Cliff Pennington's throw to first, diving in safely. Aybar scored on Abreu's single for a 1-0 lead.
DeJesus broke up Weaver's no-hitter in the fifth with a one-out single to center, and after Jackson popped out to first, Kurt Suzuki doubled into the left-field corner.
Vernon Wells played the ball cleanly off the wall and fired a throw to Aybar, who spun and fired a strike home that beat DeJesus by about 12 feet. DeJesus was such an easy out that he didn't bother sliding or trying to knock down catcher Jeff Mathis, who applied the tag to end the inning.
"That was big," Weaver said. "Vernon got the ball in real quick, and Aybar made an accurate throw. I was happy to see the third-base coach wave him home because I felt we had a good shot at him. It was a great play."
A Wells single, an Alberto Callaspo double and a Howie Kendrick run-scoring groundout gave the Angels a 2-0 lead in the sixth, and Aybar lined his seventh home run of the season over the right-field wall for a 3-0 lead in the seventh.
Aybar has seven homers through 79 games (317 at-bats) this season, matching his home run total from his previous 190 games (782 at-bats).
The A's rallied for two runs in the seventh when DeJesus doubled with one out, took third on Jackson's single and scored on Suzuki's sacrifice fly. Pennington singled, and Jemile Weeks singled to right to score Jackson and move Pennington to third.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia pulled Weaver for Downs, whose wild pitch allowed Weeks to take second. Coco Crisp hit a low laser to short that Aybar was unable to snag on the fly. But Aybar knocked the ball down, scooped it up and threw to first in time to get Crisp to end the inning.
Though Weaver, who started the All-Star game for the American League Tuesday night, looked sharp, he didn't feel very sharp early on. He threw only one inning in the All-Star game and hadn't pitched for the Angels since July 7.
"The first inning was real awkward--I felt like I had a month off," Weaver said. "I needed to knock the cob webs off. I had to get a feel for the speed of the game. It almost felt like a spring-training game in the first inning."
--Mike DiGiovanna in Oakland
Photo: Angels left fielder Vernon Wells steals third base before Oakland's Scott Sizemore can get the tag down in the first inning Saturday. Credit: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images