Weaver goes eight strong, Angels sweep M’s

Jered Weaver. (AP/Gail Burton)
August 25, 2013, 7:27 PM

SEATTLE — Jered Weaver believed he had enough left to finish off his first complete game in more than a year.

Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia didn’t see the point in pushing Weaver beyond the 102 pitches he’d already thrown at this point of the season.

"I wanted to try and extend it as much as possible, but I understand where he’s coming from," Weaver said.

Weaver gave up just three hits in eight strong innings, Kole Calhoun added a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Angels completed a three-game sweep with a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

The Angels gave Weaver plenty of run support by coming through in clutch situations. The Angels seven runs were all scored with two outs, including Calhoun’s homer, a two-run triple by Chris Nelson and an RBI triple from Peter Bourjos.

"We did real good (in) situational hitting, 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position, took our walks when they were there," Scioscia said. "In between 13 strikeouts we managed to get some key hits with guys in scoring position."

Weaver (8-7) continued the Angels pitching dominance in the three-game series, where they allowed two runs. His only mistake was giving up a solo home run to Dustin Ackley with one-out in the third inning on a 3-2 curve ball that came back over the middle of the plate. But Weaver followed by retiring 15 of the next 16 batters. He struck out eight, but wasn’t given the chance at his first complete game since Aug. 6, 2012 against Oakland.

"He had a little bit left in him. I think the 102 pitches was good, (and) there’s no sense in throwing 115 or 120 this afternoon," Scioscia said. "But it’s a good sign that he finished strong."

Weaver rebounded from two straight losses with one of his best performances of the season. Weaver had won four straight decisions in July and early August before getting knocked around by the Yankees and Cleveland in his previous two starts.

He was back in top form against Seattle. Kendrys Morales singled with two outs in the fourth and was the last batter to reach base against Weaver until Ackley doubled with two outs in the eighth. Weaver tried to pitch more on the inner half of the plate after Seattle knocked him around for nine hits and four earned runs in his last start against the Mariners in July.

Despite barely being over the century mark in pitches after the eighth, Scioscia brought in Cory Rasmus to pitch the ninth.

"It is what it is. My goal is to try and get extended and get out there and stay out there as much as possible," Weaver said. "It’s up to (Scioscia) whether he wants me to keep going or shut it down."

The Angels offensive outburst was surprising considering how dominant Seattle starter Aaron Harang (5-11) was for the first 3 2-3 innings where he was nearly perfect. Harang retired 11 of the first 12 batters, striking out five and giving up only a second inning single to Hank Conger before his day rapidly fell apart in the fourth.

Josh Hamilton started the rally with a double, followed by Mike Trumbo just missing a home run and doubling off the right field wall to pull the Angels even at 1-1. Conger was intentionally walked and Nelson made Harang pay for the decision, slicing a fly ball that landed on the right-field foul line and bounced into the corner. Trumbo and Conger scored easily while Nelson raced around to third with his second triple. Grant Green then capped the inning beating out an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop that allowed Nelson to score.

The Angels finally knocked out Harang in the sixth, again sending eight batters to the plate and doing it all with two outs. Green’s two-out bloop single was followed by Bourjos’ RBI triple off the left-centre wall. Calhoun then ended Harang’s day with his fourth homer of the season and first since Aug. 6.

Harang struck out seven, but allowed seven earned runs for the third time in August and fourth time in his last eight starts.

"He’s a veteran guy, he has to be able to shut that down and get that final out," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "Just some bad misses in the middle."

Seattle’s lone highlight was Ackley’s homer, his first at Safeco Field in more than a year. After slumping early in the season and going down to the minors, Ackley is hitting .330 in his last 26 games.

Seattle’s offensive slump continued, having scored three or fewer runs in seven of its last 10 games.

Notes: Weaver improved to 13-8 all-time against Seattle in 27 career starts. The 13 wins are tied for most against any one team (Texas). … The Angels now have swept four series of at least three games on the road this season. … Seattle OF Michael Saunders missed his second straight game due to neck stiffness.

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