3 up, 3 down: Angels 6, A's 0
September, 13, 2012
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jered Weaver may have skipped a start with biceps tendinitis but in his return Thursday in a 6-0 win over the Oakland A's, he didn't look like he'd skipped a beat.
The Angels' ace looked to be back in dominant form as he struck out nine and gave up just two hits in seven strong innings to keep the Angels' flickering wild card hopes alive.
After struggling to score against the A's young guns in the first three games of this series, the Angels broke out in the finale as eight of the Angels' nine batters in the starting lineup got at least one hit.
Torii Hunter broke a scoreless tie with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of seventh and the flood gates were open. The Angels batted around, scoring six runs on RBIs from Hunter, Mark Trumbo, Alberto Callaspo and Hunter again to chase A's starter Brett Anderson.
The Angels' win snapped their three-game losing streak and halted the A's winning streak at six.
Hunter continues to lead: Hunter smacked a home run to break a scoreless tie in the seventh, setting the Angels on a much-needed offensive roll. It wasn't so much the run that mattered, but the feeling it created among his teammates. All the pressure and the frustration that had built up over three straight losses and through the first six innings Thursday was lifted. With a run on the board, the Angels relaxed and scored five more runs.
Aybar keeps rolling: Shortstop Erick Aybar extended his season-long hit streak to 13 games with his 28th double of the season in the seventh. Aybar is now batting .320 with 25 runs in 34 games since coming off the disabled list.
Weaver back in form: It wasn't altogether clear how much the Angels would get from Weaver after he skipped his start last week to rest biceps tendinitis in his right arm. Manager Mike Scioscia was leery of extending him much farther than 100 pitches before the game. But Weaver was again masterful, striking out nine, walking one and giving up just two hits to stop what could've been a demoralizing sweep at the hands of the A's.
Failure to deliver: Albert Pujols was the only Angels starter not to record a hit Thursday. After blasting his 30th home run Wednesday night, Pujols went 0-for-3 with a strike out on Thursday. He grounded out with a runner at third in the sixth inning, which felt pivotal until the Angels exploded for six runs in the seventh.
Picking on Jepsen: It feels a little nitpicky to single out a guy who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, but that's how good the Angels pitching was on Thursday. Kevin Jepsen ran into a little trouble when he allowed two-out singles to Jemile Weeks and Coco Crisp, but got Seth Smith to strike out to strand runners at first and third. It was the second straight shaky outing for Jepsen, who allowed two runs in the top of the ninth Tuesday night in the game the Angels lost 6-5 despite a two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth.
Those who like Hunter in the No. 2 hole: It may be a temporary thing, but with Kendrys Morales getting the day off, Scioscia inserted Callaspo into the No. 2 spot and slid Hunter into the cleanup spot. Callaspo went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Hunter was 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Morales got a day off after going just 2-for-12 in this series.