<
>

Weaver erratic, but Angels sneak past Padres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Long after Jered Weaver and Jon Garland were gone, San Diego Padres outfielder Aaron Cunningham provided the afternoon's highlights with two spectacular diving catches.

"Highlight reel, wasn't he?" manager Bud Black said after the Padres lost 4-3 on Tuesday. "Hey, great plays. Great plays, man."

Cunningham is trying to win a job as a backup outfielder. He was obtained along with outfielder Scott Hairston from Oakland in the January trade that sent third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff to the Athletics.

"That was fun," said Cunningham, who also had one of San Diego's six stolen bases.

Cunningham sprinted into the right-field corner to catch Freddy Sandoval's fly ball on the warning track to end the seventh.

"Off the bat I really didn't think I had a chance to get the ball so I just put my head down and just ran as fast as I could to a spot where I thought it would be," Cunningham said. "And by the time I started looking up I saw it and I got there just in time. It was perfect timing and it turned out to be a great play. It was really exhilarating."

He ended the eighth by racing in to make a diving catch of Michael Ryan's fly in shallow right-center.

"I got a bad jump because I didn't see the ball that well off the bat, but I recovered and once again put my head down and sprinted to a spot and was in the right spot," he said.

"Those things don't happen all the time," Cunningham said. "It's just the right timing. A lot of people might say the only reason you dive is because you got a bad jump or a bad read but those came out good. I was really happy to make them."

Weaver was erratic through 3 1/3 innings. He walked five and allowed four hits and three runs while striking out four.

"He was out of sync a little early, a little across his body," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He had trouble getting into the zone. He was up."

After making some adjustments, "He looked really sharp his last 20 pitches," Scioscia said.

Weaver said he was trying to be too fine with his two-seam fastball and it was running more than he thought it would.

"The most important thing is coming out of it feeling healthy," Weaver said. "I felt good out there. Everything felt strong, so just take this one with a grain of salt and move it into the next start."

David Eckstein had two RBIs for San Diego. The Padres' six stolen bases gave them 26 this spring, tops in the majors.

The Padres want to use their speed to their advantage at Petco Park.

"The guys are running, getting good leads, getting good jumps," Black said. "They're doing a lot of good things. Obviously we're emphasizing this. Guys are really taking to it. It's coming from everybody."